Vitamin C is so important for a healthy immune system. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain various amounts of this precious vitamin but must be cooked properly in order to maximize its health benefits.
Vitamin C is easily destroyed by excessive heat and water, as well as exposure to air. For maximum retention of vitamin C in cooked foods, it is recommended that foods containing vitamin C be cooked as quickly as possible with less heat and smaller amounts of water. It isn’t just heat that destroys Vitamin C , a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that it is diluted in large amounts of water, but heated water can steal it before it gets into your system. Many common cooking methods, like boiling, can cause the vitamin to leach out of food. That means the water in which you boiled your fresh vegetables, the water you just poured down the drain, is rich in Vitamin C while the vegetables on your plate is not. However, there are 3 easy ways to preserve this valuable vitamin.
#1. Choose Foods That Can Be Eaten Raw
Choose foods that do not require cooking and can be eaten raw to maximize vitamin C availability such as fresh fruits and easily digested raw veggies. Oranges are high in vitamin C since the fruit is consumed raw generally. However, bell peppers contain even more vitamin C than oranges per serving if consumed raw.
#2. Cooking Without Water
Pan-frying, roasting, and searing do not involve water. Although the food may still lose some vitamins, it is typically less than you would lose with a method that uses water.
#3. Steaming Your Vegetables
Steaming allows heated water to gradually soften the produce without removing all of the Vitamin C. Steaming cooks foods more quickly which limits the time the vitamin C is exposed to heat and helps retain the vitamin content as well.