Food is a wonderful thing. It provides you with so many vitamins, nutrients, and essential minerals that keep your body and mind functioning at their optimal ability. But, the amount of vitamins and minerals you receive from your food largely depends on the cooking method you use. Below, you will find a breakdown of the six most common ways to cook or consume your food and how these methods affect their nutrients.
Juicing is becoming a popular trend among fitness and weight loss enthusiasts alike. The prevailing medical belief among juicing enthusiasts is that juicing fruits and vegetables will promote weight loss by introducing the nutrients of healthy foods without the bulk of pulp and fiber content to weigh on your stomach and add extra calories. In actuality, the pulp and fiber of the fruits and vegetables are powerhouses of nutrients and vitamins. The fiber itself is essential to healthy digestion and regulation of blood sugar levels. Certain fruits, like grapefruit, actually contain beneficial antioxidants in their fibrous membranes that have potential cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Juicing your fruits and vegetables does make the nutrient value more concentrated but it also limits your intake of other essential nutrients found only in the pulp and fiber.
Blending is similar to juicing except for the fact that blending takes the entire fruit and vegetable and mixes it into a smoothie-like texture for easy consumption. Blending fruits and vegetables is considered to be, by some, a better alternative to juicing because it provides you with the array of fiber and nutritional pulp that is removed during the juicing process. Though the nutritional concentration will be lower and the number of calories will be higher in a blended fruit and vegetable drink, it will also provide beneficial digestive fibers for regular, healthy bowel movements.
Boiling is a surprisingly healthy method of cooking most foods including meats, vegetables, and pasta. Cooking vegetables in boiling water will provide quite a few nutritional benefits which include softening the fiber content of the vegetables to allow better nutrient absorption during digestion and the retention of many vital nutrients of the vegetables which would've been lost or destroyed during other methods of cooking. Boiling vegetables also helps reduce their sodium content for those who are trying to adhere to a low-sodium diet. Boil your vegetables in the least amount of water possible in order to maximize the number of nutrients that are retained during the cooking process.
There is something absolutely addictive about the taste of fried foods. As healthy as you try to be, there's always some fried food that you consider to be your cheat day guilty pleasure. Although adding oil to food in order to fry it increases its fat and calorie content, there are some benefits to frying your food. The best foods to cook by frying them in oil are foods that have high concentrations of fiber, vitamin B, and vitamin C. Frying will actually preserve both vitamin B and vitamin C while increasing the amount of fiber in fiber-rich foods such as potatoes. Frying will convert some of the fiber in potatoes into a substance called resistant starch which acts as soluble fiber and has a myriad of health benefits.
Steaming your vegetables is considered to be the absolute best way to cook them while optimizing their nutritional content. The act of steaming vegetables accomplishes two very important goals. Vegetables that are steam cooked are heated to a high enough temperature and exposed to enough moisture to help break down certain plant fibers to release nutrients and promote effective absorption. Steaming vegetables is also incredibly healthy since it requires no added oil and doesn't destroy the chemical compounds within the vegetables that are believed to fight cancer. Take into consideration the fact that steaming vegetables doesn't destroy water-soluble vitamins and you'll understand why steaming is the ideal way to cook most foods.
All foods contain varying amounts of water and moisture. Many nutrients and vitamins present in your favorite foods are found in the moisture and water contained within the food. Because of this, many nutritionists and health enthusiasts recommend grilling as an ideal way to achieve the taste and texture of fried food without the added oils, fats, and calories. Grilling is a very slow and gentle way of applying heat to your food in order to cook it properly. This allows the food to become cooked at temperatures that kill bacteria and germs but don't completely destroy the water and moisture content of the food. A large portion of the nutrients and vitamins contained in the water remain intact when the food is finished cooking on the grill.