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Does cooking kill the vitamins in your food? — The Grow Network Community
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Does cooking kill the vitamins in your food?

Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial DirectorSouthwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 670 admin

"Cooking can reduce the nutritional content of veg. It can be a particular problem with vitamin C and the B vitamins and minerals like potassium, because they are water-soluble and so leach out into cooking water. That's fine in soups and stews because you consume the water, but it's a problem if you throw the water away."

"Some veg are more nutritious when cooked because cooking breaks down their cells, which can allow you to absorb more of the nutrients even if some have leached out during cooking. This is true of beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A, found in carrots, butternut squash and sweet potatoes) and other carotenoids, such as lycopene, which is found in tomatoes.

Starches and proteins are easier to digest when cooked."

And, of course:

"Cooking also improves the flavour of many veg, and if this makes you more likely to eat them it's worth losing some nutrients!"


  • Leslie CarlLeslie Carl Posts: 262 ✭✭✭✭

    Pressure cooking also retains nutrients. There are some veggies like broccoli and asparagus that have more nutrients after cooking than they do when raw. So, it's good to know your foods and when cooking them is actually better for you.

    FYI - Leafy greens and cruciferous veggies contain oxalates which bind to calcium and prevent it from being absorbed by the body. Oxalates are water soluble so you can reduce their numbers by soaking or boiling the vegetable. Other methods that work are sprouting and fermenting. I also learned that mustard can prevent the oxalates from binding to the calcium. I make a mustard vinagrette that I like to use on my veggies.

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,328 ✭✭✭✭

    @Leslie Carl Thanks for the good info. I'm making special note about the mustard vinagrette. I'm already eating more black pepper on my food since I found out that it helps you get more nutrients from your food.

  • maryannfrickomaryannfricko Posts: 133 ✭✭✭

    I steam my vegetables in my instantpot. I think that way keeps more of the nutrients.

  • maryannfrickomaryannfricko Posts: 133 ✭✭✭

    You can eat more raw. Cucumber or aucchini noodles are awesome and raw spinach soup is tasty.

  • AlisonAlison Posts: 158 ✭✭✭

    I thinks it's important to be aware of how any form of preparation can impact nutrition, since it is often one of the primary reasons we tend to produce our own food.

    I also believe it's a matter of balance as the quotes suggest. There are some things we just won't eat raw; and probably shouldn't.

    I have cooked various veggies [like tomatoes with diced turnips and veg spaghetti] and while the mix is hot I put it on a bed of raw greens. The heat from the tomato / veg mix lightly cooks the greens with any juices included in the meal.

  • Obiora EObiora E Posts: 519 ✭✭✭✭

    From what I have read Spinach needs to be cooked to release some of its nutrients, the same is true for other vegetables as already mentioned in the quote. Also letting foods sit for days or weeks in transport to the grocery store, on shelves for days to weeks, and in our refrigerators can also reduce the nutrients in food.

    If I am not mistaken fermenting foods can also increase in some foods the amount of Vitamin C. Fermenting is also a way of preserving the food.

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