WHAT IS THE SAFEST WAY TO COOK: HOW DIFFERENT COOKING METHODS AFFECT THE NUTRIENT CONTENT OF YOUR FOOD

January 02, 2020

different cooking methods

Cooking ranges from crafting exquisite dishes to creating social get-togethers, but at its essence, serves an important functional purpose in people's daily lives. Cooking helps people meet their daily nutritional requirements and allows the option of making healthier food choices. We need to eat nutritious foods to get enough energy needed in our daily activities and improve our health and well-being. In order to make food more exciting and delectable, we use different cooking methods to come up with different twists in our food.

baking

Baking involves applying a dry convection heat to your food in an enclosed environment making the surface of the food go brown while keeping the moisture locked in. This method is mainly used for cooking pastries, bread, and desserts

crockpot chicken

Frying is the fastest way of cooking food using fat. This method includes deep-frying (soaking food altogether in hot oil), stir-frying (quickly frying food on a high heat in an oiled pan), pan-frying (food is cooked simply by frying in a frying pan with oil); and sauteing (browning food from one side to the other using only small amount of fat or oil).

roast chicken

Roastingis a form of baking that requires high heat. Unlike baking, roasting makes food drier and the outside is browner due to the initial exposure to the temperature (over 500F) preventing moisture being cooked out of the food. The temperature is then lowered to between 425 and 450F allowing food to cook through.

barbecue grill

Grillingis a fast, dry and very hot method of cooking food placing it under intense radiant heat. Different sources of heat used for grilling include wood burning, coals, gas flame, or electric heating. Usually, to make food tastier, we marinade or season them before grilling like what we do with our barbecues. Grilling is like broiling, only that the heat source in broiling comes from the top instead of the bottom.

steamer

Steamingis a way of cooking food through boiling water vapor using a steamer consisting of a vessel with a perforated bottom placed on top of another with water in it. As the steam rises from the boiling water, the food is cooked in the perforated vessel placed above.

poached egg

Poaching is cooking with a small amount of hot liquid such as water, broth, stock, milk or juice usually at a temperature between 160 and 180F. We commonly poach fish, eggs and fruit.

simmering soup

Simmering food uses liquid on top of a stove in a pot or pan on a low heat. Bubbles appear on the surface of the liquid as we cook.

broiling

Broiling is similar to grilling but it uses heat directly from the top to cook mostly chicken, beef and fish. Cooking is faster this way but make sure to adjust its setting as this method may easily burn food.

blanching vegetables

Blanchingis partly cooking food such as all sorts of vegetables. The food is immediately immersed in ice cold water to stop the cooking process.

braised short ribs

Braising.Pot roasts, stews and casseroles or any larger food items such as poultry legs are the most common foods cooked by braising. We first sauté or sear them, then simmer them in liquid some time until they are tender.

Stewingis like braising wherein the food is sauteed or seared first, and then cooked in liquid, but unlike braising, we stew smaller ingredients such as chopped meats or vegetables.

These are just some of the many methods of cooking which along with the new trends of food we can cook using these methods, we can do a lot from raw to uniquely sumptuous recipes for any day. Conversely, the way we cook our food has a great impact in their nutrient content we can actually get from them. Cooking may diminish the levels of some vitamins and minerals from food. Here’s a chart to represent data of how food nutrient depletes according to the type of cooking used:

 

Cooking Methods

Nutrient Loss

Nutrient Retention

Boiling, Simmering, and Poaching

 

Boiling reduces vitamin C content more than any other cooking method. (up to 50%).

Simmering may lose up to 60% of thiamine, niacin, and other B vitamins of meat (especially when its juice run-off).

 

Boiling fish preserves omega-3 fatty acid content compared to frying or microwaving.

100% of the minerals and 70–90% of B vitamins are retained if liquid containing these juices is consumed when simmering

Grilling and Broiling

Up to 40% of B vitamins and minerals may be lost if the juice drips from the meat.

 

Microwaving

Only about 20–30% of vitamin C in green vegetables is lost (lesser compared to other methods).

Preserves the nutrients of food due to its shorter time of cooking and lesser exposure to heat.

Best for retaining the antioxidant activity of garlic and mushrooms.

Roasting and Baking

Vitamin losses are only minimal including vitamin C.

B vitamins may decrease by as much as 40% due to longer cooking time and higher temperatures.

 

Sautéing and Stir-frying

Reduces the amount of vitamin C in broccoli and red cabbage.

Prevents the loss of B vitamins when cooked for a short time without water.

Adding fat improves the absorption of plant compounds and antioxidants.

Absorption of beta carotene in carrots - 6.5 times greater compared to raw.

Blood lycopene levels increased 80% more when tomatoes are sautéed in olive oil compared to cooking without it.

Frying

Frying tuna degrades its omega-3 content by up to 70–85%, compared to a minimal loss in baking.

Preserves vitamin C and B vitamins.

May also increase the amount of fiber in potatoes (converting starch into resistant starch).

Steaming

Minimal loss in steaming broccoli, spinach, and lettuce by only 9–15%.

The best for preserving nutrients, including water-soluble vitamins.

 

 

 

Given the data above, some of you may be thinking of just sticking to steaming foods as it’s the best method of cooking food while retaining its vitamin-rich nutrients for healthy consumption, but did you know there’s another way of cooking your favorite foods without the worry of losing its health essence? Slow-cooking, dubbed as the traditional version of ‘fast food’ is the easiest and arguably, the healthiest method of cooking these days. Slow cooking cooks food using low temperature which makes it the best in retaining the nutrients in the food and more stable compared to high-temperature cooking and other cooking methods.

Cooking in liquid and heat results in the loss of valuable nutrients in the ingredients. When we slow cook foods where cooking is sealed, these nutrients that are usually lost -when cooked in other methods- are simply reabsorbed into the meal. On top of that, slow cooking takes a longer period of time to tenderize the meat and soften vegetables. As a result, the flavor of the food increases as the abundance from the spices and herbs used extracts out their goodness and aroma in the food, so there won’t be a necessary need for added seasoning or sauces.

There are many slow cookers in the market today that you’d love to take home with you to try the difference of slow cooking, but before you get so excited on putting your hands to one of these miraculous devices, I’d like to share with you what’s more magical about a slow cooker I know.

zisha clay

Going back to nature! VitaClay is a kind of slow cooker that is organic and unglazed. Today, most of our cooking materials are crafted from the developing modernity and organic might sound very ancient these days, right? Indeed! Getting to know the organic VitaClay slow cookers dates back over thousands of years where cleansing rainfalls scrubbed the mountains in southern China. This released minerals into lakes and formed huge beds of Zisha. This precious Zisha is then crafted as the organic material of “Living Cookware”,cherished by emperors to promote health, well-being, and longevity.

Unglazed means there aren’t any synthetic materials inside the pot of the cookware, which most of you use in your kitchens contain nowadays. By this, it means that cooking with VitaClay ensures you’re cooking only food and not any chemicals coming from the material composition of your cooker. Cooking with VitaClay is indeed more organic, healthy plus, flavorful like no other as this precious Zisha, the “pride of China” has become the pride of VitaClay!

 


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