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Healthy Cooking Tips

BroccoliWe all know vegetables are good for us, but how we cook them may make a difference in how healthy they really are. There are various phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, that have been known to have cancer fighting properties and other health benefits.  A test done at one of Spain’s major research centers measured levels of flavonoids - a type of antioxidant - that remained in broccoli after it had been cooked using various cooking methods.  Compared to fresh raw broccoli, conventional boiling led to a 66 percent loss of flavonoids but even more disturbing was that 97 percent were loss when broccoli was “zapped” in the microwave with a little water.  Steaming, however, loss 11 percent or fewer of these beneficial antioxidant compounds. 

Though much is still unknown as to exactly what effects microwaving has on foods, it is known that, besides the loss of valuable nutrients, new compounds are formed and the chemical structure of foods are changed by the vibration of molecules that occur when foods are cooked in this fashion.  Though it has not yet been proven specifically how these changed compounds affect the human body, Dr. Hans Hertel, a Swiss food scientist, concluded in his high-quality study on the effects of microwaved food on humans that the foods nutrients were altered enough that changes, suggesting deterioration, were noted in the participant’s blood.  The changes included such things as increased cholesterol levels, decreased numbers of red blood cells and hemoglobin levels, increased leukocytes or white blood cells and the production of radiolytic compounds which are compounds unknown in nature.

BroccoliWhen it comes to vegetables, fresh and raw is always preferable for optimum nutrition but if you are going to cook them, it doesn’t take much more time or effort to put them in a saucepan with an inexpensive stainless steel steam basket instead of the microwave. You will not only avoid the added loss of nutrients but also protect yourself and your family from potential long-term health risks. 

Copyright © 2008-2015 Lucinda Bedogne, CNHP, CNC

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