What's the healthiest way to cook vegetables?
It’s no secret that vegetables are good for us, and we all have our favourite ways to cook them.
By roasting, boiling, frying, and steaming we alter the flavours to suit our individual tastebuds.
However, did you know that some cooking methods can change the nutrition content of vegetables, and sometimes it’s for the worse? So, what’s the healthiest way to cook vegetables? Well, there are several healthy ways to cook vegetables, and you don’t need to compromise on taste.
Are you ready to make your broccoli, carrots, green beans and whatever else you’ve got in your fridge even more nutritious?
If you want to preserve the minerals and nutrients in your veggies and maximise their benefits, as a general rule, keep the cooking time, amount of liquid you use and temperature to a minimum. As steaming does all these things, it’s one of the healthiest ways to cook vegetables.
In terms of particular veg, broccoli (which has long been tagged as a top anti-cancer superfood) benefits massively from this cooking method. In 2009, a study was conducted that looked at the effects of different cooking methods on the health-promoting compounds of broccoli. Broccoli was cooked by steaming, boiling, microwaving, stir-frying and stir-frying/boiling. The study concluded that steaming preserved the highest level of nutrients.
For vegetables in general, steaming has a variety of benefits that make it one of the healthiest cooking choices:
You may be thinking, “Isn’t this just another way to steam veggies?” Well, the answer is “no” because steaming requires intense steam to quickly and effectively cook food from the outside. Microwaving, on the other hand, radiates water molecules inside the food to generate heat, meaning vegetables get cooked from the inside out.
Similar to steaming, microwaving uses minimal water, and it can preserve minerals like vitamin C that typically break down when they are heated.
Let’s get this straight – sauteing is not frying. While the former cooks food with the direct heat of the pan, usually with a little oil, the latter cooks food in hot fat or oil (which dehydrates vegetables and penetrates them with fat).
When you sautee veg in a small amount of healthy cooking oil (we’re talking extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, sesame oil etc.), it’s a great way to marry health and flavour.
For example, a study conducted by researchers in Spain and Mexico found that sauteing potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines and pumpkins in extra virgin olive oil not only tasted incredible, but enhanced natural polyphenols. These natural polyphenols are antioxidants that have been linked to preventing diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and macular degeneration.
Grilling is effective in reducing your carbohydrate and fat intake. That’s because you’re not using any fat to cook with.
The tastiest method of grilling is barbequing. When you’re grilling on a BBQ the smoky aroma adds to the flavour, so you don’t need oil for taste!
Roasted vegetables do not require large amounts of butter or oil to cook, which ticks one of the health benefits boxes straightaway. Plus, roasting gives vegetables a sweeter taste than other cooking methods which can often improve the flavour for those who prefer to skip their greens.
To preserve the most nutrients and maximise flavour we recommend cooking with a ‘low and slow’ method rather than using high heat, and following some easy tips and tricks.
For example, make sure the veg is stored in your fridge right up until you’re ready to cook it. The cool temperature can help preserve nutrients.
What’s the healthiest way to cook vegetables?
As long as you keep cooking time, temperature and the amount of liquid you use to a minimum, that’s the key.
In the end, the healthiest way to cook vegetables is your favourite way because you’re more likely to stick with it!
Look After Your Body
Not everyone has the time to prepare lavishly Instagrammable meals but making the effort to eat veg throughout the week is the best way to look after yourself. (Did you know carrots and spinach are like superfoods for the skin? And who doesn’t want a glowing complexion on their social media snap?)
Saying all that, we understand that having a busy lifestyle may mean you don’t eat as healthily as you might like, and that’s why we’ve come up with our Immunity supplement. By helping to improve your overall wellness and strengthen your immune system, you’ll be radiating from the inside out!