Cooking Tips: 7 Expert-Recommended Tips To Minimise Nutrient Loss While Preparing Food
Cooking tips: Pre-cut salads can be contaminated with food-poisoning causing bacteria and might have also lost some of the nutrients because of prolonged contact with air. Always have freshly-prepared salads.
Cooking tips: Deep frying can lead to loss of vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin C
- Wash fruits and vegetables with caution
- Peel them thinly
- Fine chopping can lead to loss of nutrients from food
Immediately after fruits and vegetables are harvested or picked, they start losing some of their vitamins. Storing fresh fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator can reduce the rate at which they degrade and helps in preserving the nutrients to some extent. You must avoid trimming or cutting fruits or vegetables before storing them in the refrigerator to lock the nutrients present inside. Here is a detailed guide to preserving essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients from your fresh produce while you are preparing the meals.
Healthy cooking tips you must follow
1. Wash with caution: Fruits and vegetables must be washed before cutting and never after that. For leafy vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, or kale - remove the external leaves and then wash thoroughly under running water. Washing vegetables after cutting or chopping can lead to the loss of water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and B complex group. Cutting vegetables and fruits before washing can also lead to cross-contamination.
2. Peel thinly: The skin of many fruits and vegetables is dense in nutrients including fiber. While you must try to keep intact the skin of fruits and vegetables that can be consumed as it is, for those that require peeling- do it as thinly as possible to preserve the nutrients. For edible skins or rinds, it's best to eat them intact. Just ensure you have thoroughly washed the produce before peeling.
3. No fine chops: If vegetables are cut into very smaller or fine pieces, there is an additional risk of oxidation, loss of flavor, and loss of nutrients. This is because the finer the chop is, the more the surface becomes oxidized after coming in contact with the air leading to a loss of nutrients and flavor. Also, make sure your knife is sharp enough because a blunt blade can further increase oxidation.
4. No prolonged soaking: Vegetables and fruits are porous in texture and soaking for long can make the water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin B complex leach out increasing the nutrient loss.
5. Fresh salad always: Salads make the perfect accompaniment with a wholesome meal and to enjoy all the nutrient-dense benefits a salad has to offer, make sure to prepare it fresh all the time. Pre-cut salads can be contaminated with food-poisoning causing bacteria and might have also lost some of the nutrients because of prolonged contact with air. So, you should never have a pre-cut or pre-packaged salad to minimise nutrient loss.
6. Say yes to sprouting: Sprouting is a simple yet effective way to boost the dose of nutrients present in grains, legumes, or vegetables. Sprouting decreases the amount of anti-nutrients and improves the concentration of essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, zinc, magnesium, folate, and iron. Sprouted grains and legumes can make for a valuable addition to your regular diet.
7. Switch to healthier cooking methods: Deep frying can lead to loss of vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin C. Extremely high-temperature cooking can also denature protein to some extent. So, switch to healthier cooking methods like blanching, stewing, boiling (without discarding the water), steaming, or shallow frying. Also, avoid reheating food as much as possible and make sure never to re-use the oil once used for frying.
Point to note
Simpler means of adapting to healthier cooking and meal preparation methods can be beneficial in the longer run. Make sure to abide by these basic rules to make the most out of your daily meal essentials.
(Nmami Agarwal is nutritionist at Nmami Life)
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