Archive for the tag - steaming

Is Boiling Vegetables Bad?

steamed-vegetablesThough the government recommends 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day, most of us get less than half that. So any effort to eat more vegetables is a good thing.

But not all cooking methods are created equal. Certainly, deep frying isn’t advisable. Neither is sauteing vegetables in copious amounts of butter. But how does boiling stack up?

Though an obvious improvement over grease or butter, boiling vegetables isn’t always the best route. If you place veggies that are high in water-soluble vitamins (like vitamin B, vitamin C or folate) into hot water, the vitamins will leach out. If you’re making a soup, then it’s no big deal; you’ll be consuming the vitamin-rich broth. But if you’re draining the water and then eating the vegetables, you’re losing much of the benefit.

In fact, a Danish study looked a the effect of boiling on broccoli. Because it’s high in water-soluble vitamin C, researchers discovered that boiled broccoli retains only 45% – 64% of it’s initial vitamin C content. Though the numbers will vary from vegetable to vegetable, it’s clear that boiling can have a significant negative impact on the foods we eat.

So what’s the smarter alternative?

The same study found that steamed broccoli, on the other hand, kept 83% – 100% of it’s vitamin C content. Rather than leaching out into the water, steamed vegetables retain the majority of their vitamin content. And if you don’t have a steamer, I once learned a simple trick. Fill a pot with an inch of water, and then place two inches worth of old forks at the bottom. Place the veggies atop the forks and let the water boil! Alternatively, you can always steam veggies in the microwave.

The bottom line: Almost all of us need to eat more vegetables. And steamed veggies are the best option for maximized health benefits.