Does Cooking Veggies Destroy Nutrients?

Woman in Kitchen Juggling Fresh Vegetables

We've all been told at some point in our lives to eat our vegetables because they are good for us. At the same time, nutritionists tell us that cooking destroys the nutrients and we should eat more of our fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden. Technically, both concepts are right, but they apply to different vegetables.

Cook or Don't Cook

Most fruits will lose the majority of their nutritional value the longer they are exposed to heat. The higher the temperature.. the more loss. With that being said, there are actually a few vegetables out there that are the opposite. When tomatoes (yes, I know it's a fruit) are cooked, it is easier for the body to assimilate the lycopene they contain. Asparagus is another oddity when it comes to antioxidants. The more the vegetable is cooked, the higher the volume of antioxidants it produces.

How to Cook Fresh Fruit & Vegetables

It is also to know how to cook your fruits and vegetables. Steaming vegetables will destroy some of the nutrients; that's true. The benefit of steaming, however, is that the nutrients that are leached into the water will remain in the steam as it falls back down into the pan. Using that water in other dishes or in smoothies allows you to keep the nutrients and still savor your fresh, home cooked veggie dishes, just the way you like them.

As long as you eat your fruits and vegetables in some form, you will get a portion of the nutrients you need. Include both fresh and cooked fruits and veggies in your diet and call it a trade off. If you can eat more fresh, that's great but don't deprive yourself of your favorite foods if you like them cooked and seasoned a special way.


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