Prevent Nutritive Losses During Cooking

Protein Rich Food

  • The nature of protein gets changed during cooking and this may be beneficial or harmful. This depends on the art of cooking, ingredients added, level of heat, time and so on.
  • During cooking of food, amino acids (building blocks of protein) may be lost to a great extent or may be changed into unavailable forms. Toasted bread or fried potato gives an attractive colour, but essential amino acids are lost in the process causing deterioration in nutritional value.
  • Heating also has some positive impacts like increasing palatability and digestibility of food and destruction of anti-nutritional factors like trypsin inhibitors.
  • Germination can improve the nutritional value and digestibility of pulses where the amount of vitamins, minerals and enzymes are increased. Sprouted beans are nutritionally better than raw beans.

Vitamin C

  • Vitamin C is highly sensitive to heat, oxygen and sunlight. The following steps will help minimize the loss of Vitamin C during cooking/processing:
    • Add lime juice to curries only once it has cooled down.
    • Use less water in cooking and washing.
    • If boiling potatoes, avoid cutting or peeling before boiling.
    • During frying of potatoes, immerse them directly into hot deep fat.
    • While cooking, cover food with a lid to reduce access to oxygen.
    • Use pressure cooking, if available.
    • Keep fruits and vegetables at a low temperature during storage.
    • Avoid iron and copper pots for cooking.
  • Eating a variety of food that contain Vitamin C is the best way to get an adequate amount each day and fresh fruits are the best

Minerals

  • Water soluble minerals may be dissolved in cooking water.
  • Iodine may be lost from marine fish during freezing. In addition, a greater amount of iodine is lost if you add iodated salt when the food is hot or keep an iodated salt container near a fire place or gas cooker. Always keep iodated salt in a closed dark container and away from heat and direct sunlight.

Following are some poor food preparation practices which should be avoided.

  • Washing vegetables after cutting will reduce a significant amount of Vitamin C. Water soluble vitamins are highly vulnerable to loss during washing and draining of water. Thoroughly clean the exterior of such products to retain water soluble nutrients.
  • It is unsafe to practice repeated freezing and thawing of perishable food like fish and meat. Hence it’s advisable to freeze fish or meat separately in portions to increase food safety and save nutrients in food.

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