8 tips to preserve nutrients in your food
Substantial amounts of vitamins in food can be lost from the time a fruit or vegetable is picked until it is eaten. Especially B group vitamins and vitamin C can be destroyed with improper storage and cooking.
Fruits and vegetables are important sources of vitamins and generally we need to process them before cooking. In today’s mechanical life, people buy a stock of fresh vegetables and fruits for a week to save time consumed by frequent visits to the market.
But, it is important to preserve the nutrients in food through correct procedures to enjoy the health benefits. The sooner a food is eaten, the lower the chances of nutrient loss. If food is not eaten within a few days, freezing is the best method to retain nutrients.
Some methods that will help to preserve nutrient loss from processing, storage and cooking:
1. Keep fruits and vegetables cool: Refrigerate freshly purchased fruits and vegetables immediately, as the enzymes in them will deteriorate once they are picked from plants.
2. Refrigerate foods in moisture proof containers: Nutrients will be best at high freezing temperatures and away from air and moisture.
3. Avoid trimming and cutting fruits and vegetables into small pieces: The more surface exposed, the faster oxygen in air breaks down vitamins.
4. Care while adding fats: Do not add fats to vegetables during cooking if you plan to discard the liquid (broth). This broth can be used for preparing soups.
5. No cooking soda: Don’t add cooking soda to vegetables, as it destroys vitamins especially B and D vitamin.
6. Minimize reheating food: It is advisable to prepare fresh foods daily and not consume cooked and stored foods as they invite infections and increase loss of nutrients. Because already some nutrient loss would have occurred during cooking.
7. Steam cook for maximum benefit: To retain the maximum amounts of nutrients in vegetables, microwave cooking, steaming, or using a pan with very small amounts of fat and a tight-fitting lid is best.
8. Storing greens: Green leafy vegetables after purchase should be cleaned and wrapped in a paper and stored in containers for refrigeration as this process will increase shelf life.
The author is a consultant nutritionist and guest lecturer for ISSA
Image: Getty Images
10 must-eat foods for a healthy diet