Monday, November 16, 2009

Are you making this common cooking mistake?

Did you know that the method you use to cook your food can affect how many of the original nutrients are in the final product? Water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins, deteriorate when they are exposed to light or cooked in water or acid. Recent research has shown that these cooking methods can decrease other antioxidants found in vegetables as well. So, boiling your vegetables in a big pot of water is not a good idea. Try steaming, stir-frying, sauteeing, microwaving, or grilling them instead. For maximum nutrient preservation it is also important to avoid overcooking your vegetables. Not only do veggies taste better when they are crisp-tender, they are better for you.

Potatoes are one good example of how food preparation can change a food's nutrients. A medium baked potato contains about 17 milligrams of vitamin C (approximately 23% of an adult woman's daily needs) and about 160 calories. If you peel the potato and boil it to make mashed potatoes, much of the vitamin C and potassium will be lost in the water. If you eat your potato in the form of french fries instead; the potato will likely be peeled, cut and fried. This will destroy many of the nutrients and you would have to eat about 1,600 calories worth of fries to get that same 17 milligrams of vitamin C (not to mention all of the extra fat and sodium found in the french-fried potatoes).

Here is another interesting vitamin fact that you may not know. Do you know why milk is sold most often in cartons and opaque plastic jugs? The answer is that riboflavin, a necessary B vitamin, is destroyed by light. Milk is an important source of riboflavin in the typical American's diet along with enriched grains, whole grains, poultry, fish and some vegetables.

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