You know you should be eating more nutritious foods if you want to improve your overall health. Adding healthy amounts of leafy greens, lean protein, fresh fruit, and whole grains into your meals every day is a great way to boost your immune system, enhance your mood, and increase your energy for more productive days. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that the food you eat does play a significant role in your overall well-being, but only if you know how to prepare it the correct way. Yes, sweet potatoes can be bad for you if prepared in a particular manner; alternatively, they can be extremely good for you if you know how to enhance their nutritional content during the cooking process.
How Does Cooking Alter Nutritional Content?
Before sounding like I’m a total advocate for adhering to a completely raw diet, I’ll point out that there are instances where cooking is not only beneficial, but downright necessary. Cooking raw meat, fish, and eggs is essential for getting rid of harmful bacteria which can make you sick. Aside from these situations, you should know how to monitor your cooking methods so that they’re bringing out the most positive nutritional benefits from your food.
There are three nutrients in particular which are prone to being reduced during the cooking process. Water-soluble vitamins, such as Vitamin C and the B Vitamins, as well as fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamins A, D, E, and K are vulnerable to this. Certain minerals such as potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium are also susceptible to being reduced during cooking.
Breaking Down Cooking Methods
Water-based cooking methods such as steaming and boiling tend to reduce the quantity of water-soluble vitamins. This means that foods such as broccoli, lettuce, and spinach are most at risk for losing nutritional content during these preparation methods.
Grilling provides great flavor, but tends to reduce B vitamin content. Grilling may also produce carcinogenic substances from fat dripping onto hot surfaces.
Interestingly enough, microwaving was found to be most effective for maintaining the nutritional content of foods such as garlic and mushrooms, due to relatively short cooking times. Still, the healthiest cooking method is generally agreed to be sauteing. This method involves short cooking times with very little use of water. Saute and stir-fry more of your fresh produce for better nutritional content in your meals.
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