Which way of COOKING destroys nutrients? And which does not?

Does the way food is prepared play an important role in the preservation and availability of all the nutrients present in a given product?

It may come as a surprise to some, but the answer is: Definitely YES!

In addition, an overview of most ways of preparing food and how it affects its nutritional value.

During the different ways of cooking, the nutritional value of the food changes.

In general, cooking food improves its digestibility and increases the absorption of most nutrients. Most cooking methods are fatal to pathogenic microorganisms that can harm us.

As just a small example of increasing digestibility we can take boiled egg proteins, which are 180% more digestible than those in fresh.

However, cooking can reduce the amount of several key nutrients: • Water-soluble vitamins: vitamin C and all B vitamins

• fat-soluble vitamins: vitamins A, D, E and K.

• Minerals: primarily potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium

How does cooking and boiling affects food?

Boiling means preparing food in boiling water, which means at a temperature of about 100°C.

This method of food preparation has a particularly negative effect on water-soluble vitamins, ie B vitamins and vitamin C. Studies show that boiling reduces the amount of vitamin C more than any other cooking method. Broccoli, spinach and lettuce also lose over 50% of the naturally occurring vitamin C in them during boiling. Apart from the solubility in water, this is also due to the thermal sensitivity of this vitamin.

The situation is similar with B vitamins. Over 60% of these vitamins are lost during the preparation of meat in boiling water. But if the water in which it is cooked is used later, these lost vitamins, as well as the lost minerals, are almost completely restored.

Cooking fish in the same way, proved to be the most suitable for preserving omega 3 fatty acids.

Microwave cooking

Microwave cooking is a particularly fast, efficient and safe way of cooking.

There are many myths that microwaves destroy all nutrients and even create some harmful substances.

Data from studies on this topic say that this is the best way to preserve most of the nutrients, especially the antioxidants in mushrooms and garlic. Vitamin C and B vitamins are significantly less "destroyed" by the action of microwaves than at high temperatures of digestion and boiling.

Baking and cooking on an open fire

Baking, unlike boiling, boiling and simmering, is cooking with "dry" heat, ie air is used to conduct heat.

Baking is used in the preparation of bread and various confectionery products, while the other way for meat. The loss of minerals and vitamins in this way of cooking is minimal, but prolonged baking can affect the amount of C vitamins, ie reduce it by 40%.


Frying is definitely the worst way you can prepare food. This is primarily due to several factors:

• Fried foods are a source of many calories

Not only are fried foods a source of calories, but those calories are actually empty calories. During frying, most of the vitamins and minerals from the food are lost. When food is fried, it loses water and instead absorbs fat. This makes fried foods even more caloric.

For example:

100g of potatoes contain 90kcal of which a very small portion of fat, the same potato in the form of french fries, contains an incredible 300kcal, most of which is fat (17g saturated!)

100g of fish has about 100kcal and 1g of fat. The same amount of fried fish contains more than 200kcal and more than 12g of saturated fat!

• Fried foods contain trans fats

Most fried foods contain these fats. They are the worst thing we can do to our body. Trans fats are dangerous for our health because they increase the level of LDL cholesterol, triglycerides. At the same time, they lower good or HDL cholesterol.

• Fried foods increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Scientific studies show that fried foods can increase insulin resistance, and it is clear that "bad" saturated fats increase the risk of all cardiovascular diseases.

• The huge caloric value of this fatty food, increases the risk of obesity, and thus the risk of diseases associated with this condition

In addition to these facts, a large number of components with different toxicity are created during the frying process. For example, acrylamide in potatoes, with a proven carcinogenic effect.

10 useful tips for maximum retention of most nutrients in cooked food:

1. Use as little water as possible during cooking and boiling.

2. Consume the remaining water after cooking if possible.

3. If possible, peel vegetables and fruits after cooking or do not peel them at all.

4. Eat cooked food the day or the next day.

5. The heat treatment should last as little as possible, as long as the fruits, vegetables and meat are ready and safe.

6. Do not use baking soda when cooking vegetables. Although soda helps retain color, vitamin C can easily be completely lost in the alkaline environment caused by soda.

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