The Concept of Nutrition in Cooking

Reheating or cooking foods can greatly diminish their nutritional content since some of the nutrients in them are destroyed by heat. One tip for retaining nutrients from food is to decrease the duration of cooking.

Heat isn’t the only issue here. When you’re cooking food by means of water or through other fluids, some of the nutrients would seep out and flow into the liquid. A good approach is to add in any cooking liquid when the dish is already cooked. Even if you’re not a trained chef of any type, you’ll still be able to cook healthy and delicious meals.

Details to Know About

Some of the nutrients are significantly affected from cooking compared to others. For instance, calcium is considered tough, while Vitamin C, potassium, and folate are deemed fragile. Varying methods of cooking also impact other nutrients in a different manner.

One basic rule to keep in mind: minerals can withstand heat. As a matter of fact, dry heat, in the form of roasting or baking, has little effect on minerals. But vitamins, on the other hand, appear to do a little better through moist cooking, like boiling, since the duration of cooking is shorter.

When you’re cooking food in any liquid, both minerals and vitamins leach out and up getting lost in the drain. If you can find ways to include cooking liquid in a meal, you’ll be able to preserve a lot of nutrients.

You can utilize cooking liquids rich in vitamins for making couscous or rice. This can lead to preserving a plethora of vitamins. Another approach is to have the vegetables steamed in a rack over boiling water. As a result, vegetables won’t come in contact with water so the vitamins will remain intact. Some may leak into the water, but you can utilize the leftover boiling water for cooking other dishes.

Nutrient Content Preservation

If you tend to acquire the most of nutrition from your foods, how you set them can be a difference makers. Here are some things you need to keep in mind:

  • It’s a bad idea: if you cook foods for long period of time and dumping the cooking liquid
  • It’s a better idea: if you boil or stew foods and add cooking fluid into the dish or for use with another dish
  • It’s a good idea: if you steam or microwave foods as these minimize liquid contact
  • It’s best: if you don’t cook any of them at all or at least consume raw fruits or vegetables daily

Raw foods aren’t exactly the most nutritious since their exposure to air and light can easily degrade their nutrients. Raw vegetables and fruits that have been stored in the fridge for an extended period of time or have gone through long transport typically have little or no nutrients in them.

To make acquire those essential nutrients from fruits and vegetables (regardless of cooking methods), you want to ensure you get the freshest produce possible. Basically, that means making a purchase locally and in season. When there’s nothing available for the season, never lose sight of frozen fruits and vegetables. Freezing is proper for nutrient preservation. Fruits and vegetables that are kept frozen are typically chosen at the height of their nutritional peak and are processed in a matter of days, which help preserve nutrients.

Thanks to Susan from Culinarydreaming.com for helping us put this together.

Is Healthy Food Worth It?

Additional costs of healthy foods is one big reason why consumers are thinking twice before making a switch despite the benefits associated with eating healthy. A majority of them think they should be priced lower since they don’t possess synthetic chemicals or commercial supplements seen in other foods.

Note: Since everything in life is a trade off, I’ve been tracking my finances and spending less money on other things (mostly clothing) so that I can spend more money on higher quality food. There are many websites that you can use to help you track your finances, so find one that’s right for you. My favorite one is here.

Healthy and organic foods are a product of natural methods from their livestock and/or crops. They don’t possess pesticides, artificial fertilizers and hormones, antibiotics, or biological modification.

Here are two reasons why healthy foods are several times more costly than their conventional counterparts.

Limited Supply

Healthy foods are expensive compared to other kinds of food since their supply is very limited. Despite the boom in the food industry, most farmers prefer not to go for organic farming. The primary reason is the fact that organic crops and livestock take a longer period to harvest. The longer the harvest period, the higher the operation costs will be, and the greater the chances of damage or formation diseases.

Conventional food can be harvested in a short period of time and utilizes genetic modification for both plants and animals. They’re constantly injected with growth hormones to enhance their development.

Economics also plays a major role, which is why healthy foods are costly. Whenever the consumer demand is higher than the supply, this becomes a scarcity. In this event, organic farmers would usually increase the pricing of healthy foods to reduce the number of consumer purchases. This is because when healthy food supplies are low, there will likely be consumers willing to purchase healthy foods even if the price tag has dramatically increased.

Processing

The stages that need to be carried out in order to deliver healthy foods to consumers also contribute to its hefty price tag. The overall production cost of healthy foods is more costly because of the length of stage production. The stages of harvesting and processing also entails added costs to the pricing. Shipping costs also contribute to the additional cost since health foods aren’t preserved via synthetic preservatives or irradiation while getting them to the market early. Basically, the quicker the food transport, the expensive the costs will be.

Marketing and the distribution chain for healthy goods are inefficient and are higher in costs due to the small number of volume they produce. In addition, healthy foods are costly since their supply is typically limited compared to consumer demand. Also, organic farmers don’t utilize modern agricultural cost-effective solutions. In the end, they’re usually the ones that decide how much the price tag will be for the healthy foods they harvest.

Benefits

Even if you won’t go for healthy foods, studies indicate that the health can benefit greatly from nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables compared to conventionally grown, pesticide-filled foods. Eating in moderation and in variety are essential for any diet. Both conventional and healthy foods can be integrated to any healthy-eating plan as long as you prioritize fruits and vegetables over anything unhealthy. You can also derive a lot of benefits from switching the main source of energy in your food, from carbs to fats as I talked about here.

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