The Ways to Cook and How Your Food Is Affected

Steaming preserves the vitamins and minerals in foods while oils and fats are not added. When you steam rather than charbroil foods, you also avoid the danger of consuming carcinogens that are present in blackened foods. Steaming concentrates the intrinsic flavor and juiciness of foods, making food taste better. Stir-frying is considered the healthy way to fry. Food is cut into small pieces, put in a pan with a little water or oil and cooked quickly at high heat. Vitamin-rich veggies, such as broccoli and carrots, retain more nutrients, texture and color. Stir-frying does not require fat to bring out flavor.

Frying is not the best way to cook, as prolonged heating can destroy nutrients. The butter or oil used can be absorbed by food, so you ingest more fat than you think. Oil temperature is also a factor. When oil burns, it becomes toxic, and free radicals are produced. When oil smokes, you should throw it away.

Boiling can leech out nutrients—water in which food is boiled may be better for you than the cooked food. However, some food is best boiled: mustard greens, turnip tops, collards, and similar vegetables have too strong a taste for other methods of cooking. Try boiling kale and bitter greens. Water in which food is boiled can be used for purposes such as soup stock.

Although microwave cooking is convenient, some nutrients are lost. Animal studies indicate that immunity, cholesterol, hemoglobin, and white blood cells are adversely affected. People who eat heavily microwaved food have a slightly higher incidence of stomach and intestinal cancers, digestive disorders, and lymphatic malfunctions. All of these are controversial and inconclusive, so more studies are needed. In the meantime, reduce intake of microwaved foods except for heating purposes.

Try treating your cooking as an art and be aware of the relationship between your food preparation and nutrients!