A nutritious meal doesn’t start and end with just throwing leafy greens into your recipe. It’s all about the journey to your plate, too. For instance, you might be using too much heat in your cooking process, which can damage 15 to 20 percent of some veggie vitamins.
Don’t worry: There are easy ways to preserve your food’s nutritional value as much as possible—and that all starts by adopting healthy cooking habits in your life. Below are four tips and tricks to max out your vitamin intake.
Minimize boiling your ingredients
When prioritizing nutrients, don’t forget that there are water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and B vitamins (e.g. thiamin, riboflavin, folic acid). This means that any step involving water might potentially leach them out. Boiling food for too long might remove up to 50 percent of vitamin C content, among other nutrients. Washing chopped veggies might also deteriorate their nutrition content. Avoid the vitamin drain by keeping your boiling time to a minimum and wash before chopping, not after.
Cut down on the veggie chopping
Cutting your vegetables disturbs the environment that ensures the nutrients stay locked in. Once sliced open, the veggies’ antioxidants like vitamins A and E react to oxygen and decrease. Vitamin C, which we’ve already learned is water-soluble, can leave the veggies through the juices that leak out. By keeping your slices large, more nutrients can stay undisturbed in your fresh ingredients.
Saute instead of fry
Oil isn’t always a villain, contrary to popular belief. Sauteing your food with healthy fat like virgin olive oil increases the absorption of fat-soluble phytonutrients into the body—not to mention adding a punch of delicious flavor. However, frying food dehydrates ingredients which can break down vitamins. In this case, a little goes a long way.
Pass up on the baking soda
Baking soda is sometimes used for tenderizing meats or preserving color in greens. The problem with this comes in with veggies in particular, because baking soda strips vegetables of vitamin C. It can also damage the vitamin D, some vitamin B and amino acids.
Mini science lessons aside, healthy lifestyle living doesn’t have to be complicated. Who knew the little things like cutting less and sauteing more would boost your health?