Preserving The Antioxidants In Your Vegetables During Cooking

For years we have been told that cooking our vegetables in a minimum amount of water, such as by steaming, was the best way to keep the nutrition in the vegetable.

A new study has turned that bit of traditional wisdom on its ear by discovering that some vegetables actually increase their antioxidant capacity when cooked in other ways. [Antioxidant supplements]

Researchers looked at 20 different vegetables, and cooked them several different ways, including boiling, baking, microwaving, frying, and cooking in a pressure cooker.

For most vegetables, microwaving the vegetables or cooking them on a griddle without added fat was the best choice. There were, however, some exceptions:

  • Artichokes were the real powerhouse and kept their antioxidants no matter how you cooked them. Good news for those of us who like our artichokes boiled or roasted.
  • Celery, a classic aromatic, actually increased its antioxidant capacity when cooked any way except boiling.
  • Microwaving was no friend to corn, causing it to lose much of its antioxidant capacity.
  • Frying increased the antioxidant capacity of eggplant, while asparagus fared better when boiled.

Additional tests will be conducted. Researchers caution that the antioxidant capacity as measured in vegetables after cooking may not directly relate to how well those antioxidants are absorbed when the vegetables are eaten.