A study from Spain revealed that the cooking process will determine how many health-boosting antioxidants make it to your plate. Researchers took 20 common veggies and measured antioxidant content before and after preparing them six different ways. As a general rule, griddling (that’s cooking on a flat metal surface with no oil) and microwave cooking maintained the highest antioxidant levels.
Here’s what you need to know about cooking your veggies for optimum nutrition:
1. Microwaving — When in doubt, microwave your veggies for maximum antioxidant preservation. The one exception is cauliflower. Keep it out of the microwave; it loses more than 50 percent of its antioxidants if nuked.
2. Griddling — Beets, celery, onions, Swiss chard, and green beans cook particularly well on the griddle. Beware: Griddles are often coated in nonstick chemicals that make cooking and cleaning convenient, but may contain toxins linked to cancer! Shop for one without coating, or use a thick frying pan with no oil.
3. Baking — It’s good for most veggies, but researchers found that some of the antioxidant properties in garlic and peppers were significantly lowered in the oven.
4. Frying — This method is kind of middle-of-the-road when it comes to antioxidant loss. Zucchini’s antioxidents dropped the most when fried.
5 and 6. Pressure cooking and boiling — In general, don’t pressure cook or boil if you want to retain antioxidants in your vegetables. Peas, cauliflower, and zucchini are particularly susceptible to losing nutrients through boiling.
A few interesting facts:
• Green beans, beets, and garlic kept their antioxidant levels after most cooking treatments.
• The antioxidant content of green beans, celery, and carrots actually increased with all cooking methods, except for boiling green beans.
• The artichoke was the only veggie to keep its high antioxidant level during all the cooking methods.
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