Saturday, April 25, 2009

Maintaining antioxidant levels in cooking

Antioxidants are now widely acknowledged as essential for protecting our bodies from oxidatve damage caused by toxins, which we are constantly exposed to from our inner and outer environments. In general, antioxidants play a role in prevention and holistic treatment in a wide variety of illnesses, from autistic spectrum disorders to arthritis to cancer. Fruits and vegetables are the major contributors of nutritional antioxidants in our diets, and we all know we’re supposed to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Here’s some new information that is quite relevant for those looking to maximize the antioxidant content in their diets:Researchers at the University of Murcia and the University of Complutense in Spain examined how various cooking methods affected antioxidant activity by analyzing six cooking methods with 20 vegetables. These included boiling, pressure-cooking, baking, microwaving, griddling and frying. Here’s what they found:

• The highest antioxidant loss was observed in cauliflower after boiling and microwaving, peas after boiling, and zucchini after boiling and frying. • Green beans, beets, and garlic were found to keep their antioxidant levels after most cooking treatments. • The vegetables that increased their antioxidant levels after all cooking methods were green beans (except after boiling), celery and carrots. • Artichoke was the only vegetable that kept its high antioxidant level during all the cooking methods. • Griddle- and microwave-cooking helped maintain the highest levels of antioxidants, produced the lowest losses while pressure-cooking and boiling led to the greatest losses.

The above are tips you should keep in mind when preparing healthy family meals at home…

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