When cooking vegetables, it is best to depend on what nature intended and trying to follow the nature cooking methods as best you can. It is believed by some that it is healthier to eat foods that are raw or very lightly cooked. The reason for this is that they contain all of the nutrients from the earth in which they were grown. In other words, raw foods contain living cells which are often destroyed in the process of cooking. Eating raw vegetables is best, however by following a few rules when preparing them will preserve the maximum amount of nutrients possible in the cooking process.
1. When Cooking vegetables, be sure that you do not overcook them. Because of the fact that most people cook them too long, it destroys all of the nutritional goodness that they absorbed during the process of their growth. The reason for this is that excessive exposure to heating will kill the vitamins and minerals within their structure.
2. Cook and eat your vegetables with the skin on. Many people are in the habit of peeling veggies before cooking them, however, removing the skin by peeling also removed much of the nutrients in the food. As a matter of fact, most of the nutritional value in vegetables are concentrated in the skin and just underneath it. This is particularly true in carrots, cucumbers, squash and yams. Leave on the skin and enjoy the benefits of the vitamins as well.
3. If you are shredding and/or cutting your vegetables before cooking them, then be sure to cook them immediately after doing so, as vegetables tend to lose their nutritional assets when exposed to the air after the skin has been invaded. By cooking them right away, it will preserve the goodness. Additionally, if you are cutting your vegetables into pieces, use the rule of thumb: the bigger the pieces the better the nutrition.
4. Never microwave your vegetables. Microwave ovens are known to kill not only the bacteria in food, but the vitamins and minerals contained in them as well. Microwave ovens may be a fast and convenient way to cook vegetables, however, make a practice of refraining from using this cooking method, as you will end up with food without any nutritional value.
5. If you boil your vegetables as a cooking method then use the veggie broth that results in the water that it was boiled in. Boiling water absorbs a lot of the minerals and nutrients in the food that is cooked in it, so using the broth as a soup base, or cooking meats in it can be extremely healthy.
6. Never fry your vegetables. Frying them adds harmful substances to your food such as fats and carcinogens. Additionally, the extremely high temperatures used for frying foods strip all of the vitamins and minerals that are originally in the veggies.
7, Steam your vegetables. Steaming veggies keeps the nutrients within the food. It is one of the best methods of cooking them for health purposes.