How to Cook Vegetables Without Losing Nutrients

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Dieticians, doctors and the media seem to be constantly reminding us that we need to eat vegetables for their nutrients, antioxidants and disease-fighting powers. But often when we cook vegetables, we lose the very nutrients we are trying to add to our diets. Fortunately, there are ways to cook vegetables that will preserve most of their vitamins and minerals.

  • Buy the freshest produce possible. Vegetables start losing nutrients the moment they are harvested. Check out the local farmer's market for the freshest selection.

  • Store the vegetables properly. See the resources section for instruction on how to store different types of vegetables.

  • Cook the vegetables soon after buying them. The longer they sit in the refrigerator, the more nutrients they lose.

  • Wash the vegetables, but do not soak them. Water takes away nutrients.

  • Cook the vegetables with very little water. Stir-frying, microwaving and steaming are the best ways to preserve their natural goodness.

Tips & Warnings

  • Frozen vegetables have just as many nutrients as fresh vegetables do. Often they are frozen shortly after being picked, so they are packed with nutrients.
  • To steam vegetables without a steamer, place some inexpensive forks in the bottom of a pan. Place a little water in the pan, but not enough to come over the forks. Put the vegetables on top of the forks and steam.
  • Put the water that is left after steaming into a soup or sauce, to take advantage of all of the vitamins and minerals leached out during steaming.

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