How Moist Heat Cooking Preserves Nutrients in Food

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Do you feed green veggies to your children enough? Your cooking practice has a great impact on nutrient absorption. Several key nutrients are reduced because of our poor choice of food preparation. If you want to ensure your children are getting enough nutrients, choose the correct cooking method to prepare the veggies. 

What is Moist Heat method?

Moist heat cooking method includes water or liquid as a mode of heat transfer and this is the best way to cook them with minimum loss of vitamins such as folic acid, vitamin K and Vitamin C. This type of cooking method is used to emphasize the natural flavour in foods.

Why this technique is preferred?

Water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin B and a group of nutrients called Polyphenols seem to be the most vulnerable to degradation in processing and cooking of green vegetables. So, moist heat cooking is preferred over other cooking methods.

Moist heat methods and their benefits:

Moist heat cooking methodCooking mediumAppropriate for food itemsAdvantage
BoilingMostly waterHard and whole dry grains, beans etccombat acidity removes oxalates and prevents formation of kidney stones use as a good weaning food for babies
BraisingCombination of fats and water. Steam helps in further cooking. Meats, beans, legumes (whole pulses), black chana, roots-carrot, radish etcMaintains flavour of meat. Make food easily digestible
PoachingLiquid medium is usedEggs, fishDoesn’t require fat to cook or enhance flavour
SimmeringWater as a Liquid medium is usedMostly for animal proteins- meat, poultry and fish and soft veggies like- peas, corn, potatoes etc.
SteamingCooking food over a liquid, need high temperature to generate steam for cookingTender veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini etc.Healthiest method. It maintains nutrition of food Preserve water soluble vitamins & natural antioxidants
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Source : victoriahansenfood.com

Bottom line: Most of the Green Vegetables are great source of vitamin C, but a large amount of it is lost when cooked in water. One of the water based cooking method- boiling, reduces vitamin C more than any other cooking method. Broccoli, spinach and lettuce may lose up to 50% or more of their vitamin C when boiled. Choose your cooking method wisely!
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