Written by Franziska Spritzler — median reviewed by Atli Arnarson BSc, phd — update on November 7, 2019

Eating nutritious foods items can boost your health and energy levels.

You are watching: Cooking a food in liberal amounts of water is least likely to affect the vitamin content of:

Surprisingly, the way you chef your food has a significant effect top top the amount of nutrients it contains.

This post explores just how various food preparation methods influence the nutrient contents of foods.


Cooking food improves digestion and also increases the absorb of numerous nutrients (1, 2).

For example, the protein in cooked egg is 180% much more digestible than that the raw eggs (3).

However, some food preparation methods reduce several key nutrients.

The following nutrients space often reduced during cooking:

water-soluble vitamins: vitamin C and also the B vitamin — thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12)fat-soluble vitamins: vitamin A, D, E, and also Kminerals: mostly potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calciumSummary

Although food preparation improves digestion and also the absorb of plenty of nutrients, it may reduce levels of part vitamins and minerals.


Boiling, simmering, and also poaching

Boiling, simmering, and also poaching are comparable methods of water-based cooking.

These methods differ by water temperature:

poaching: much less than 180°F (82°C)simmering: 185–200°F (85–93°C)boiling: 212°F (100°C)

Vegetables are generally a good source that vitamin C, but a large amount of it is lost when they’re cooking in water.

In fact, boil reduces vitamin C content more than any type of other cooking method. Broccoli, spinach, and lettuce may shed up come 50% or much more of your vitamin C as soon as boiled (4, 5).

Because vitamin C is water-soluble and also sensitive come heat, it can leach the end of vegetables once they’re immersed in warm water.

B vitamin are similarly heat sensitive. Up to 60% that thiamine, niacin, and other B vitamins might be shed when meat is simmered and its juices operation off.

However, as soon as the liquid containing this juices is consumed, 100% the the minerals and also 70–90% that B vitamins are maintained (6).

On the other hand, boiling fish was shown to preserve omega-3 fatty acid content significantly more than frying or microwaving (7).

Summary

when water-based cooking methods reason the biggest losses that water-soluble vitamins, they have actually very small effect on omega-3 fats.


Grilling and also broiling are similar methods of cooking with dry heat.

When grilling, the heat resource comes indigenous below, yet when broiling, it comes from above.

Grilling is just one of the many popular cooking methods since of the an excellent flavor it offers food.

However, approximately 40% of B vitamins and also minerals may be lost throughout grilling or broiling when the nutrient-rich juice drips from the meat (6).

There are also concerns around polycyclic fragrant hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are possibly cancer-causing building material that kind when meat is grilled and also fat drips ~ above a warm surface.

However, researcher have found that PAHs have the right to be diminished by 41–89% if drippings space removed and smoke is decreased (8).

Summary

Grilling and broiling provide an excellent flavor but additionally reduce level of B vitamins. Also, grilling generates possibly cancer-causing substances.


Microwaving is an easy, convenient, and also safe an approach of cooking.

Short cooking times and also reduced exposure to warmth preserve the nutrients in microwaved food (9, 10).

In fact, research studies have found that microwaving is the best technique for retaining the antioxidant activity of garlic and also mushrooms (11, 12).

Meanwhile, around 20–30% the the vitamin C in environment-friendly vegetables is lost during microwaving, i m sorry is much less than most food preparation methods (5).

Summary

Microwaving is a for sure cooking method that preserves many nutrients due to brief cooking times.


Roasting and baking express to food preparation food in stove with dry heat.

Although this terms are somewhat interchangeable, roasting is typically used because that meat if baking is provided for bread, muffins, cake, and comparable foods.

Most vitamin losses room minimal with this food preparation method, consisting of vitamin C.

However, as result of long food preparation times at high temperatures, the B vitamins in roasted meat may decrease by as lot as 40% (6).

Summary

Roasting or baking go not have a far-ranging effect on many vitamins and also minerals, except for B vitamins.


With sautéing and stir-frying, food is cooked in a saucepan over medium to high heat in a little amount of oil or butter.

These techniques are really similar, but with stir-frying, the food is stirred often, the temperature is higher, and the cooking time is shorter.

In general, this is a healthy means to prepare food.

Cooking for a short time there is no water stays clear of the loss of B vitamins, and the addition of fat enhances the absorb of plant compounds and also antioxidants (6, 13, 14).

One study found that the absorb of beta carotene was 6.5 times higher in stir-fried carrots than in raw ones (15).

In an additional study, blood lycopene levels enhanced 80% an ext when civilization consumed tomato sautéed in olive oil rather than without it (16).

On the various other hand, stir-frying has been shown to considerably reduce the quantity of vitamin C in broccoli and red cabbage (5, 17).

Summary

Sautéing and also stir-frying boost the absorb of fat-soluble vitamins and also some tree compounds, however they diminish the lot of vitamin C in vegetables.


Frying involves food preparation food in a big amount the fat — typically oil — in ~ a high temperature. The food is regularly coated with batter or bread crumbs.

It’s a popular means of prepare food since the skin or coating maintains a seal, i beg your pardon ensures that the inside continues to be moist and cooks evenly.

The fat used for frying likewise makes the food taste really good.

However, not all foods items are appropriate for frying.

Fatty fish are the finest sources the omega-3 fatty acids, i beg your pardon have numerous health benefits. However, these fat are an extremely delicate and prone to damages at high temperatures.

For example, frying tuna has been presented to degrade that omega-3 content by as much as 70–85%, while baking causes only minimal accident (18, 19).

In contrast, frying preserves vitamin C and B vitamins, and it may additionally increase the quantity of fiber in potatoes by converting their starch right into resistant starch (20).

When oil is heated to a high temperature because that a long duration of time, toxic substances called aldehydes room formed. Aldehydes have actually been attached to an raised risk the cancer and other illness (21).

The type of oil, temperature, and also length of cooking time affect the amount of aldehydes produced. Reheating oil also increases aldehyde formation.

If you’re walking to fry food, nothing overcook it, and use among the healthiest oils because that frying.

Summary

Frying renders food taste delicious, and it can administer some services when healthy and balanced oils space used. It’s best to protect against frying fat fish and minimize the frying time of other foods.


Steaming is among the finest cooking techniques for keeping nutrients, consisting of water-soluble vitamins, which room sensitive come heat and water (4, 5, 6, 17).

Researchers have found that steaming broccoli, spinach, and also lettuce reduces their vitamin C content by only 9–15% (5).

The downside is the steamed vegetables might taste bland. However, this is simple to remedy by including some seasoning and oil or butter ~ cooking.

Summary

Steaming is among the best cooking approaches for keeping nutrients, consisting of water-soluble vitamins.


Here are 10 tips to alleviate nutrient loss while cooking:

Use as little water as feasible when poaching or boiling.Consume the fluid left in the pan after cooking vegetables.Add earlier juices from meat the drip into the pan.Cook vegetable in smaller quantities of water to reduce the ns of vitamin C and B vitamins.Try come eat any kind of cooked vegetables within a work or two, as their vitamin C content may proceed to decrease when the cooked food is exposed to air.Cut food after ~ — rather than prior to — cooking, if possible. Once food is cook whole, much less of that is exposed to heat and water.Cook vegetable for just a couple of minutes at any time possible.Don’t use baking soda when cooking vegetables. Although it helps keep color, vitamin C will certainly be shed in the alkaline environment developed by baking soda.

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Summary

there are numerous ways to preserve the nutrient content of foods without sacrificing taste or other qualities.