An article in yesterday’s New York Time’s discusses the best way to prepare your vegetables. Here, “best” is defined by how many nutrients are preserved after cooking. A few surprises here:
- Steaming and boiling broccoli causes a 22-34% loss of vitamin C whereas microwaved and pressure-cooked broccoli retains 90 percent of its vitamin C.
- When salsa or salad is served with fat-rich avocados or full-fat dressing, diners absorb 4 times more lycopene, 7 times more lutein and 18 times more beta carotene than those who eat their veggies plain or with low-fat dressing.
- Boiling carrots significantly increased measurable carotenoid levels, but resulted in the complete loss of polyphenols compared with raw carrots.
- Processed tomato products have higher lycopene content than fresh tomatoes because the processing breaks down the thick cell walls of the tomato, releasing lycopene for the body to use.
- Fresh spinach loses 64 percent of its vitamin C after cooking.
That’s interesting, but I think the real point is to eat a variety of vegetables, and eat lots of them. As the article explains:
The benefits are significant. Numerous studies show that people who consume lots of vegetables have lower rates of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, eye problems and even cancer. The latest dietary guidelines call for 5 to 13 servings — that is two and a half to six and a half cups a day. For a person who maintains her weight on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, this translates into nine servings, or four and a half cups a day, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Steamed, cooked, raw, microwaved, blanched, poached, sliced, diced or shredded. How you eat your veggies is up to you.
Though that reminds me, here’s an interesting fact about cabbage you may not know:
Cabbage’s anti-carcinogenic glucosinolates are formed by the activity of myrosinase enzymes, which are released when cabbage is sliced or chopped. Cooking denatures the myrosinase enzyme, thus stopping the production of glucosinolates.