heated topic

Good Health (Australia) - - Be Informed -

There’s a lot of de­bate around how to cook veges to max­imise their nu­tri­ent lev­els. In gen­eral, the longer vi­ta­mins are ex­posed to heat, the more their lev­els will fall. Wa­ter-sol­u­ble vi­ta­mins, like vi­ta­min C; and B vi­ta­mins like thi­amine, ri­boflavin and folic acid, will of­ten be re­duced dur­ing cook­ing, es­pe­cially when veges are boiled. In broc­coli and spinach, up to half of the vi­ta­min C can be lost. In leafy greens, the lev­els of B vi­ta­mins also fall by up to 40 per cent. But some of the vi­ta­mins will re­main in the cook­ing liq­uid, so boil­ing is a good choice if you’re mak­ing stock or soup. While cook­ing may re­duce vi­ta­min con­tent, the lev­els of other nu­tri­ents may rise. A 2002 study found although the amount of vi­ta­min C is re­duced in cooked toma­toes, cook­ing boosts lev­els of other an­tiox­i­dants, like ly­copene, that can be ab­sorbed by the body. Se­nior re­search di­eti­tian Helen Ras­mussen of Tufts Univer­sity says this is be­cause the heat breaks down the cell ma­trix of the plant, al­low­ing carotenoids to be re­leased from the cell walls. As for the best method, sautéing and stir-fry­ing veg will re­tain more nu­tri­ents than boil­ing, and can im­prove the ab­sorp­tion of fat-sol­u­ble vi­ta­mins like vi­ta­mins A, D and K. Steam­ing or mi­crowav­ing are also good op­tions. Mi­crowav­ing can re­duce the vi­ta­min C in green veg by 30 per cent – less than most cook­ing meth­ods.

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