Care in Preparation Can Save Nutrients


Fresh Frozen Food in Fridge

When you're working with Metabolic Research Center and eating real food to lose weight, you want maximum nutrition from those foods. With the exception of fresh produce, most foods are processed in some way. Processing, cooking and storage conditions can affect the nutrients in the food.

Why Process?

The purpose of processing is to make food safe to eat and extend storage life. In the case of canning or drying, heat and exposure to oxygen can decrease vitamins like vitamin C and the B vitamins. Both are also water-soluble, so if they are cooked in lots of water, the vitamins leach into the water. However, drying can concentrate other nutrients, like sugar, so it's easy to get too much sugar from a food like dried fruit because the serving size should be smaller compared to fresh fruit. Cooking also tends to decrease vitamin C and high heat affects the B vitamins folate and thiamine.

Keeping It Cold

Refrigeration can help protect nutrients, especially in fresh fruits and vegetables. However, don't overdo storage time. These foods are still “alive” and will continue to produce enzymes and use oxygen, which also uses up available nutrients. Frozen foods are often more nutritious than their canned counterparts, because they are processed much more quickly after harvest and minimally cooked, which helps preserve nutrients. Manufacturers may also add preservatives to help maintain nutrients, such as ascorbic acid to preserve vitamin C.

Follow the Basics

For maximum nutrition, buy or grow fresh foods and process them yourself. Refrigerate foods immediately after you buy or harvest. If possible, eat produce raw or minimally cooked. When water is necessary for cooking, use the smallest amount possible. Add a little healthy fat to promote the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A and E.

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