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How Different Cooking Methods Affect Food’s Nutritional Value

Posted on Jul 14, 2015

Most of the food we eat needs to be processed so we can prepare various dishes and for that we use a variety of cooking methods designed to combine the food’s flavors and to turn it into eatable meals. Unfortunately, most of these cooking methods ruin the nutritional value of food during the cooking process, some more than others. This is how different cooking methods affect the nutritional value of food.
How Different Cooking Methods Affect Food's Nutritional Value Picture How Different Cooking Methods Affect Food's Nutritional Value Picture


When you cook food in water or other liquids, most of the vitamins and minerals in the food escape in the boiling liquid and you end up throwing them away. Fruits and vegetables are the most affected during boiling as many of the vitamins they contain are released into the boiling liquid. This cooking method is the one that reduces most of the nutritional value of food, but it’s also often used to eliminate toxins from meat before running it through another cooking process. If possible, try and reuse the boiling liquids full of nutrients in your recipe so you will manage to preserve some of the good stuff.


Indirect heat is one of the safest ways of preserving most of the nutrients inside the food as the heat circulates and penetrates the food in depth without forcing the molecules to break. The fact that you don’t use oil keeps the food low-fat and since the food is not fried or boiled in any liquid maintains its nutritional value. Baking the food in a convection oven or a toaster oven ensures a tasty and nutritious meal prepared in proper cooking conditions.
How Different Cooking Methods Affect Food's Nutritional Value Picture How Different Cooking Methods Affect Food's Nutritional Value Picture


The biggest concern regarding cooking the food in the microwave oven is the effect of the electromagnetic radiations on the food and how it decomposes the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in the food. The high-intensity waves of the top rated microwave ovens penetrate the food and change its molecular structure, which causes the nutrients to break down. Also, doctors are concern about the carcinogenic effects of the microwave oven, but studies have shown that a microwave that works well does not emit harmful radiations. However, recent studies have shown that in terms of nutrient preservation, the top rated microwave ovens are not nearly as bad as boiling food. This is due to the fact that nutrients tend to break down when they come in contact with water, so cooking methods which don’t involve a lot of water can retain more nutrients.


Perhaps the best way of preserving the nutritional value of food is to steam it, as the steam runs through the food but keeps its healthy components inside. Steam penetrates the food but doesn’t break the nutrients nor it releases them into a liquid or so, but it circulates them and keeps them inside the food. Steaming is the safest way to prepare food, especially for small children and persons with vitamin deficiency.