Do cooking practices affect the vitamin content of food?

Do cooking practices affect the vitamin content of food?

They do indeed! Many of the vitamins from vegetables can be lost during preparation, cooking and storage. To retain as much nutritional value as possible:

  • Serve vegetables raw when possible
  • Keep food covered during storage
  • Refrigerate most vegetables
  • Wherever possible, tear rather than cut green leaves, since tearing causes the leaves to break around the veins rather than across them (as is the case with cutting) – this keeps the cells intact, and prevents the oxidation (destruction) of Vitamin C
  • Use cooking techniques that will reduce the exposure to water and heat
  • Steam, bake or microwave vegetables for the shortest time possible
  • Avoid soaking vegetables in water in the pressure cooker, as this leads to leaching of water-soluble vitamins and their loss if the water is discarded
  • Use as little water as possible when boiling
  • Avoid exposing cut surfaces to the air
  • Stir-fry (i.e., cook for a very short time on a high flame) vegetables – you lose less nutrients this way

Sanjana M Shenoy is a A dietitian from Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Having worked as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India. She is also a consultant for corporate's like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows. She consults at her Diet and Nutrition clinic "Nutrihealth" in Mangalore. Also is a visiting consultant to various hospitals in and around Mangalore and also runs an active online consultation.

3 Replies to “Do cooking practices affect the vitamin content of food?”


    I always tell my people to cut vegetables in big pieces and not small ones, as in the case of big pieces, the exposure to outside factors like heat, air, water etc will be much less compared to the pieces which are small in size. I mean the total surface area also.The loss of valuable nutrients like vitamins and minerals could be minimised. I stand for correction and would like to hear from readers on this peculiar thinking and way of mine.

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