Tara Parker-Pope in the NY Times blog “Well” had a good post yesterday on “Finding the Best Way to Cook All Those Vegetables”
A growing body of research shows that when it comes to vegetables, it’s not only how much we eat, but how we prepare them, that influences the amount of phytochemicals, vitamins and other nutrients that enter our body.[...]
“There is a misperception that raw foods are always going to be better,” says Steven K. Clinton, a nutrition researcher and professor of internal medicine in the medical oncology division at Ohio State University. “For fruits and vegetables, a lot of times a little bit of cooking and a little bit of processing actually can be helpful.”
The complication arises not just from raw versus cooked, but more from what cooking method is used. As the article says, there often isn’t one best method.
In January, a report in The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry concluded that over all, boiling was better for carrots, zucchini and broccoli than steaming, frying or serving them raw. Frying was by far the worst.
Still, there were tradeoffs. Boiling carrots, for instance, significantly increased measurable carotenoid levels, but resulted in the complete loss of polyphenols compared with raw carrots.
And there’s also certain positive effects of combining certain vegetables with certain others. Yikes! For the neophyte omnivore, all the complications can be overwhelming.
The important point to take away is the idea of variety — eat a bunch of different vegetables prepared a bunch of different ways. Keeps you interested and covers your bases.