-Dr. Siddhant Bhargava
In earlier times, people used to eat more chemical-free food. To obtain complete nutrition today, both the combination of foods and the style of cooking are important. The different vitamins and minerals are vulnerable to oxidation from air, light, water, acid, heat, time, and food-derived enzymes. However, by being careful when selecting, storing, and cooking your food, you may minimise losses and dramatically boost your nutrient intake.
Fruits and vegetables, such as their antioxidant content, fibre content, and other vital vitamins and minerals, cannot be denied. However, cooking certain foods with vibrant colours runs the danger of removing some of those nutrients due to the heat and cooking process, preventing your body from absorbing the full quantity.
Fortunately, you can choose specific cooking techniques that are advantageous to you and boost absorption and retain nutrients without exerting any additional effort. Additionally, using these healthier cooking techniques yields tasty meals like stir-fries, roasted veggie medleys, and more.
Wash your vegetables before you are ready to boil or chop them. You never know whether they are injected or chemically grown. The import location of vegetables and fruits in the market is never known. Cutting food into small pieces also loses value because it comes into direct contact with air.
While cooking a dish, you can consider gaining nutritional value instead of extracting it. Do proper stir-frying. Boiling specific veggies only proved to be nutrition-based, like potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, and many more. Microwaving is artificial heat and, overall, not good for health when used for daily essentials. It is a result that reheated vegetables lose nutrients as soon as they are harvested; thus, time is of the essence. For a period of time after food is extracted from plants, it loses more vitamins.Because of this, buying local produce whenever you can is always a good idea because the shorter the journey the vegetables take to get to your plate, the more nutrients they’ll retain. You can’t get more local than that, so either support local agriculture in your neighbourhood or get your hands dirty by planting some of your own herbs and vegetables.
When you bring those fresh vegetables home, consume them immediately or store them in the fridge or freezer to prevent further vitamin loss. To prevent vitamin breakdown, store in an airtight bag or container in your refrigerator’s vegetable drawer (where humidity is higher).Additionally, avoid trimming and chopping before storing to reduce surface area and help keep more vitamins inside.
When vegetables are cooked, water-soluble vitamins, including vitamin C, might be further depleted, especially in foods that have been heated for longer than two hours. While fibre and minerals will largely stay unchanged, vitamins A through C and niacin have a tendency to hold up a little better. Also, do not use baking soda for immediate cooking because it removes the beneficial substances from vegetables.Since most vitamins are heat- and air-sensitive, the longer the cooking process lasts and the higher the temperature, the more nutrients are lost. Utilize the extra water from boiling rice or vegetables while making gravies by mixing the batter with it.
Controlling the growth of microorganisms is the goal of food hygiene. preventing bacterial contamination as well as bacterial development Food will inevitably contain bacteria. Avoid adding to it and don’t let it enlarge on the dish as much as you can. To grow, bacteria require warmth, moisture, and oxygen.
Stewing is a gentle cooking technique that uses little liquid—just enough to cover half the food. By creating steam, the food is cooked. Stewing does not result in nutritional loss through liquid leaching.
Well, a better way to cook your food at a low temperature without pouring too much liquid can definitely give you the benefit of keeping the nutrition in your food.
(The author is a fitness and Nutritional Scientist, Co-Founder – Food Darzee. The views expressed here are his own)