When I create a diet plan for my clients, I get asked quite often – “Why are we steaming veggies and not boiling them?”
Exactly, why? Let me tell you more about it.
Vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, especially when eaten immediately after harvest. The longer vegetables sit on supermarket shelves or in your fridge, the more vitamins and minerals they lose.
Vegetables also lose nutrients during the cooking process, especially when tossed into a pot of boiling water. The vital nutrients are leaching into the water.
What exactly is Leaching?
The problem with boiling is that vitamins, especially vitamins B and C, dissolve in water, as they are water-soluble vitamins.
The longer the vegetables sit in the hot water, the more nutrients they lose. Because these nutrients leach into the water, you are not receiving all of the dietary benefits the vegetables have to offer.
Steaming – is a very gentle cooking method, and doesn’t involve any water loss, which in general tends to maximise nutrient content.
Steaming is the best way to retain nutrients overall, compared to microwaving, boiling and stir frying, steaming produced the least amount of vitamin C, chlorophyll, glucosinolate and protein loss.
For example the healthy nutrient’s compounds in broccoli are significantly affected by all cooking treatments, except steaming, as they cause great losses of chlorophyll and vitamin C. Boiling and stir-frying also causes the loss of total carotenoids.
But remember – the veggies contain fat-soluble vitamins (vit. A, K) as well as water soluble (vit.B, C). Steaming doesn’t use any fat, so the fat-soluble vitamins in steamed vegetables won’t be as bioavailable. So always mix your steamed vegetables with olive or coconut oil, or eat them alongside a big plate of oily fish!
If someone wants to dive deep into scientific studies about cooking methods – here is one good study for you:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2722699/