How To Prevent Nutrient Losses from Vegetables
We all know vegetables are abundant in many nutrients like vitamins and minerals. But some amount of nutrients are lost during cooking or cutting vegetables. Without sufficient nutrients we may not meet our daily requirements. So, to control the losses we have to follow some measurements. We can prevent nutrients losses from vegetables by following some precautions as below:
- Cut the vegetables into bigger pieces so that the exposure is less.
- Cut and use it immediately. By grinding, the losses will be more due to greater atmospheric exposure. By extraction of juice the losses are greater.
- Start cooking with boiling water. The greatest destruction of ascorbic acid occurs during the first minute or two of the cooking period.
- Water should be boiling when the vegetables is put to cook to expel oxygen from the tissues, to eliminate oxygen dissolved in the cooking water and to inactivate the enzymes present in the tissues which catalase the oxidation of ascorbic acid.
- Cover the pan so that there is no direct contact with the atmospheric oxygen.
- Use a sharp knife. When sharp knife is used to cut cabbage bruising is avoided and loss of ascorbic acid is reduced.
- The more alkaline the solution, the faster is the rate of destruction especially temperature and time of heating are increased.
- Ascorbic acid is protected to some extent when heated in the natural acids of certain foods such as tomatoes, vinegar, tamarind and lime juices.
- Using baking increases the loss of thiamin and vitamin C hence very small amounts of baking soda should be used.
- After cooking, the food has to be consumed immediately: even if it is kept in the refrigerator, the losses continue to occur.
- Minerals are not easily destroyed by cooking. Riboflavin is sensitive to light, when food is exposed to light riboflavin is lossed. But both niacin and riboflavin are stable even at 100 °C.
- Keep the skin when possible, use a pressure cooker.
- Choose steaming than boiling. Avoid reheating food.
- Use less quantity of water while cooking, use this water in making recipes.