Even if your diet consists of a fresh produce, how can you be sure that you’re actually getting the substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals from it? It is no unknown fact that cooking can diminish the nutrient content in your food. This claim is backed by Ayurveda and raw foodism too. But that doesn’t mean you stop cooking altogether and go on a raw food diet. There are certain tricks to retain the nutritional value of the food you eat.
Here are a few dos and don’ts you must follow:
1. Don’t: Soak The Food In Warm Water
It’s common practice to soak veggies and fruits in warm water to rid them of the dirt and bacteria that get lodged on the surface. However, along with the grime, it also ends up destroying the nutrients. Veggies like carrots, potatoes, peas, corn and beans have immediate reactions too. Hot or warm water causes the sugar in corn, beans and peas to turn into starch, reducing the sweetness and making them prone to early rotting. Potatoes become firm and take longer to cook, and carrots become softer and susceptible to decaying. It’s wiser to use cold water to clean them down.
2. Do: Cut Your Vegetables In Larger Chunks
Cutting your veggies in larger pieces minimizes the internal surface that’s exposed while cooking. This helps reduce nutrient loss. However, in case of vegetables like potatoes you can even keep the skin on to prevent the loss altogether.
3. Don’t: Cook On High Flame
Foods exposed to high levels of heat experience the highest amount of nutrient loss. Cooking on low-flame minimizes this loss. Raw foodism that believes in the utmost retention of nutrients states that food shouldn’t be heated above 104–120°F. Boiling, broiling and steaming are great ways to achieve this.
4. Do: Cover The Utensil While Cooking
Covering the utensil while cooking retains the flavor and nutrients in the food. Doing so also builds up the steam inside the cooking pot, thus reducing the overall time required to cook the food.
5. Don’t: Let Food Go Stale
You may not advocate wastage of food, but did you know allowing food to go stale reduces its nutrient value? That’s because when you refrigerate food and re-heat it, it causes a loss in the vitamin and mineral content. It’s wise to always cook the right amount of food and eat it fresh.
6. Do: Store Leftover Water For Reuse
All the water that gets left behind after cooking vegetables or even chicken can be reused to make stock, broth and stews, as it’s full of nutrients. If you don’t plan to use it instantly, you can store two separate cans of vegetable stock and chicken broth, and keep refilling it as you collect more liquid. Use it as you please.