We have been told that vegetables are nutritious for our bodies, and that the best way to prepare them is by boiling. Recent studies conducted, however, belie that claim. This research cooked vegetables in three different ways, and compared the results in terms of nutritional content and antioxidant capacity of the vegetables after cooking.
What are phenols?
These are compounds that are beneficial to your health. They prevent cancer, and are anti-oxidants. They are found in plants, fruits and vegetables.
The phenols in vegetables are greatly affected by the cooking process. In this series of experiments, it measures the effect of the cooking agent used – extra virgin olive oil or water or both.
Vegetables fried in extra-virgin olive oil
- The cooking method and the use of the extra-virgin olive oil increase the amount of phenols in the vegetables.
- The quality of the vegetables improved with the additional enrichment from the phenols transferred from the olive oil.
- It also increases calories in the food.
Vegetables boiled in water
- This method has no effect on the phenols level of the vegetables
- This method may be used if the water used to boil becomes part of the dish itself (i.e. Soup)
Vegetables boiled in a mixture of water and extra-virgin olive oil
- Since water dilutes olive oil, the transfer of phenols is less significant as compared when pure extra-virgin olive oil is used
Benefits of using extra-virgin olive oil
Extra-virgin olive oil or EVOO is the purest and highest form of olive oil. It is also referred to as ‘liquid gold’ for its color, and for the benefits one can get from using it. Extra-virgin olive oil is widely used in Mediterranean foods. Here are the benefits of using EVOO:
- It reduces inflammation
- It reduces risk to cancer
- It lowers bad cholesterol, and prevents fatty patches in the heart and arteries
- good food for the heart
- it is rich in vitamin E, which is an anti-oxidant
- regulates blood pressure
- improves blood sugar and enhances insulin sensitivity, thus is good for those with diabetes
- fights obesity
- fights off rheumatoid arthritis
- improve health of bones, fights off osteoporosis
Olive oil is versatile to use. You can cook with it, but the best way is to enjoy it at its purest form so dribble some on your salad, or even on your cracker. It is delicious, and is packed with health benefits.