Ask Well: Does Boiling or Baking Vegetables Destroy Their Vitamins? –

Ask Well: Does Boiling or Baking Vegetables Destroy Their Vitamins?


To what extent does heating (boiling, baking) foods like vegetables destroy vitamins?

Asked by Bartolo


It’s true that cooking methods alter the nutritional composition of fruits and vegetables, but that’s not always a bad thing. Several studies have shown that while cooking can degrade some nutrients, it can enhance the availability of others. As a result, no single cooking or preparation method is best, and that includes eating vegetables raw.

Many people believe that raw vegetables are packed with more nutrition than cooked vegetables, but, again, it depends on the type of nutrient. One study of 200 people in Germany who ate a raw food diet found that they had higher levels of beta carotene, but their plasma lycopene levels were well below average. That’s likely because fresh, uncooked tomatoes actually have lower lycopene content than cooked or processed tomatoes. Cooking breaks down the thick cell walls of many plants, releasing the nutrients stored in them.

Water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin B and a group of nutrients called polyphenolics seem to be the most vulnerable to degradation in processing and cooking. Canned peas and carrots lose 85 to 95 percent of their natural Vitamin C. After six months, another study showed that frozen cherries lost as much as 50 percent of anthocyanins, the nutrients found in the dark pigments of fruits and vegetables. Cooking removes about two-thirds of the vitamin C in fresh spinach.

Depending on the method used, loss of vitamin C during home cooking typically can range from 15 percent to 55 percent, according to a review by researchers at the University of California, Davis. Interestingly, vitamin C levels often are higher in frozen produce compared with fresh produce, likely because vitamin C levels can degrade during the storage and transport of fresh produce.

Fat-soluble compounds like vitamins A, D, E and K and the antioxidant compounds called carotenoids fare better during cooking and processing. A report in The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry concluded that over all, boiling was better for carrots, zucchini and broccoli than steaming, frying or serving them raw. Frying vegetables was by far the worst method for preserving nutrients.

But when it comes to cooking vegetables, there are always tradeoffs. A method may enhance the availability of one nutrient while degrading another. Boiling carrots, for instance, significantly increases measurable carotenoid levels compared with raw carrots. However, raw carrots have far more polyphenols, which disappear once you start cooking them.

And while many people think microwaving is bad for food, vegetables cooked in a microwave may have a higher concentration of certain vitamins. A March 2007 study looked at the effects of boiling, steaming, microwaving and pressure cooking on the nutrients in broccoli. Steaming and boiling caused a 22 percent to 34 percent loss of vitamin C. Microwaved and pressure-cooked vegetables retained 90 percent of their vitamin C.

The bottom line is that no one cooking or preparation method is superior for preserving 100 percent of the nutrients in a vegetable. And since the best vegetables are the ones you will actually eat, taste should also be factored in when deciding on a cooking method. The best way to get the most out of your vegetables is to enjoy them in a variety of ways — raw, steamed, boiled, baked and grilled. If you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis, you don’t have to worry about the cooking method.

A Southeast Asian Treat, Tasty in Any Configuration –

When it comes to Vietnamese-style rolls like this one, filled with lobster meat, cucumber and fresh herbs, a few questions tend to arise.

Q. Is it spring roll or summer roll?

A. Call it either one. (We’re talking here about fresh salad rolls you find in Vietnam, which usually contain a few cooked prawns, along with herbs and rice vermicelli.) But since it’s summer, and since these salad rolls are ideal summer fare, I’m going to stick with summer roll.

Q. But aren’t spring rolls fried?

A. Not necessarily. The fried ones go by many names: imperial rolls, egg rolls, nems. But they are also, confusingly, sometimes called spring rolls.

Q. Aren’t they hard to make?

A. They are not at all hard to make, with a bit of practice. Still, unless you grew up assembling them, there is a learning curve, and dexterity is required.

Now then, about these not-quite-authentic-but-awfully-delicious summer rolls. They make a fine lunch, wrapped in a lettuce leaf and dipped in a gingery, lime, hot peppery sauce. Cut small, they can be served with drinks, or they could be an elegant first course at a sit-down dinner.

To prepare a summer roll, first moisten dry rice-paper wrappers (most Asian markets sell them) in a bowl of warm water. It will take only 30 seconds or so to soften each sheet of rice paper, at which point you must grasp the wrapper in both hands and lay it flat on a cutting board. Though they come in all sizes, a 12-inch wrapper is easiest to use; otherwise use two 8-inch wrappers per roll, overlapping them somewhat on the board.

The filling needs to be placed at the bottom third of the rice paper circle. I like to start with fresh herbs, especially basil leaves and cilantro, then I add other elements — here, just-cooked lobster meat, cucumber and avocado. Next, the sides of the circle are folded in and then the rolling begins, from the bottom. It’s important to wrap the filling as tightly as possible for a firm roll, which makes it both easier to cut into pieces and easier to eat. You’ll feel a tinge of pride when you master the technique.

But if by chance, despite your best efforts, your lobster rolls become unruly and fall apart, no need for despair. Just plop the perfectly good remains on a plate, drizzle with the dipping sauce and call it a rice noodle salad.


awakening the inner pharmacy Spirituality |

More than 5,000 years ago, ancient yogic seers discovered the mind’s infinite capacity to heal the body. They understood that we are all inextricably woven from the fabric of the natural world and therefore have unlimited access to the intelligence, energy, joy, abundance and health of the universe.

A powerful way to cultivate the mind’s intrinsic healing power is by nourishing the five senses. Just as the body’s tissues are made from the food we eat, our mind is created from the sensory input we take in. By surrounding ourselves with nurturing sensory experiences rather than toxic ones, we will experience greater vitality and well-being.

Therapeutic Sounds

Every sound has a physiological effect. When we listen to a beautiful piece of music or the sound of waves crashing on a shore, our body produces chemicals that make us feel joyful and support health and wholeness. On the other hand, when we’re subjected to noise pollution, we may become tired, irritable and stressed.

You can experiment with music and sound to create your own acoustic therapy. In general, if you’re feeling sluggish, listening to rock and roll, passionate classical pieces and rap music can invigorate you. For someone who is feeling angry or overheated, nature sounds such as falling rain are calming. Gregorian chants and soothing New Age songs can alleviate anxiety. Since we each have a unique response to different types of music, the key is to tune in to your body and discover which sounds are healing and inspiring for you.

Healing Touch

We all need loving physical contact to stay healthy. In fact, as mammals, human beings are born with the need to touch and be touched. Regular massage and therapeutic touch lead to greater immune function, improved circulation and more restful sleep. In addition to receiving professional massage treatments, you can give yourself the gift of a daily self-massage, which also provides numerous healing benefits.

Uplifting Sights

The visual impressions you take in profoundly affect your body, mind and emotions. Watching violence in movies or on television activates the body’s stress response, while viewing beautiful images such as a sunset or your child’s face causes your body to produce soothing, pleasure-enhancing neurochemicals.

Seeking out nourishing sights is as important for your health as nutritious food, so begin to surround yourself with uplifting images rather than toxic ones. When you watch the clouds drift by, look at an amazing painting, or enjoy a brilliant bouquet of flowers, you cultivate your innate capacity for health and balance.

Vitalizing Tastes

In Ayurveda, food is categorized into six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. If you include the six tastes in a meal, you’ll receive the nutrients you need and you’ll feel completely satisfied and energized. On the other hand, if one or more of the tastes are missing from a meal, you may feel full but unsatisfied and find yourself snacking two hours later.

Healing Aromas

Olfaction is our most primitive sense, connecting us directly with our memories and feelings. Scientific research shows that smells have the power to soothe, energize and relax. When we smell a substance, we’re actually absorbing some of its molecules, making aromatherapy a form of natural medicine. Here are some specific suggestions for balancing fragrances:

Invigorating: Lemon, Orange, Clove, Cinnamon.

Cooling: Jasmine, Mint, Lime, Rose

Calming: Lavender, Vanilla, Sandalwood, Neroli

You can also use a process known as neuro-associative conditioning to consciously link a healing response to a given smell. Begin by choosing an aroma you especially like and inhale it whenever you’re feeling relaxed, peaceful or happy; your body will begin to associate pleasurable feelings with the smell. Before long, just a faint whiff of the fragrance will trigger a healing response in your physiology.

By making conscious choices about the sensory impressions you ingest, you will invigorate the inner pharmacy of your mind and body and you’ll awaken your natural vitality and enthusiasm.

Food52’s Top 5 Recipes to Reinvent How You Cook With Oats | Whole Foods Market

Oats can (and should!) be celebrated in so many recipes beyond oatmeal – from savory, creamy risottos to chewy granola bars and everything in between. Forget about that processed oatmeal of breakfasts past and embrace these five recipes that give hard-working oats the attention and treatment they rightly deserve.

Peas Porridge Hot (Oat Risotto with Peas)

Photo by James Ransom

Recipe: Oat Risotto with Peas

Not just a comforting and savory brunch dish, this risotto-like preparation of oats would be great for dinner paired with some greens, or as a side to chicken or juicy portabella mushrooms. Don’t skip the step of toasting the oats or you’ll miss out on the deep, nutty flavor it brings.

Heavenly Oatmeal Molasses Rolls

Photo by James Ransom

Recipe: Heavenly Oatmeal Molasses Rolls

These supple, rich rolls have just a hint of sweetness to them – they’re chewy, tender and full of deep flavor from the molasses, but versatile enough to complement (rather than overwhelm) a variety of main dishes. We love the ease of the first refrigerator rise, and these are virtually guaranteed to come out looking beautiful, with their butter-slicked and oat-flecked tops.

Oatmeal and Lavender Shortbread

Photo by James Ransom

Recipe: Oatmeal and Lavender Shortbread

These shortbreads are sublime thanks to an almost coconut-ty texture and lovely nuttiness from the oats, plus lavender as a delightful and graceful finishing note. Enjoy them right out of the oven if you want, but they’re even better the next day: a little sturdier for packing and with a deeper flavor.

Cavatelli with Asiago Oat Crumbs

Photo by James Ransom

Recipe: Cavatelli with Asiago Oat Crumbs

This is a cookie dough experiment gone wrong, and we couldn’t be happier for the kitchen disaster. You’ll swear the crumb mixture tastes familiar, and you’ll agree – a dough once destined for cookies is a revelation on pasta.

5 Minute, No Bake Granola Bars

Photo by James Ransom

Recipe: 5 Minute, No Bake Granola Bars

A granola bar you don’t have to bake, with a recipe that won’t tie you down. As the title suggests, these granola bars will take you five minutes from start to finish, tops. Here, oats headline in sweet, salty snack bars, and are balanced with a mix of nuts, dried fruit and nut butter. Add or subtract whatever you want (chocolate chips! sunflower seeds!) for a completely customizable snacking experience.

What are your favorite ways to eat oats, beyond oatmeal? Share your comments below!

Natural News Blogs Natural vs GMO vs Organic » Natural News Blogs

Natural vs GMO vs Organic

When we shop, what we purchase is our “vote”. That buy, tells a company we want that product; even though you may not know you have bought an unhealthy product. This is how companies promote their product the most, no matter how good or bad it is; if it’s purchased frequently then it makes them money!

Please Read below and reconsider your purchases:

“Natural” the term by itself generally is conventionally grown. The word “Natural” means it has just become a ‘sale method’ used by the company to make the public think that these products are good for you! Always read the labels, if there are a lot of names and additives you do not understand; like dyes, chemicals or forms of sugar—then it’s not going to be healthy! Sometimes these foods come from GMO seeds or animals treated with drugs or bad feed which they would never tell you! Many companies will feed you anything with the term, “Natural”, to help increase their profits.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) means that the seeds used to grow that food have been changed, the “Genes” or the DNA in the seed, was modified by inserting a gene from another family of organisms or to add a chemical/pesticide. So—who wants DNA from a fish, maybe if you want to grow fins, or perhaps sheep DNA, only if you want to grow wooly hair! What makes this unhealthy for our bodies is that your body, your cells, do not recognize this as food and it confuses the cells. This confusion to our cells can bring about abnormal disease results. For instance, allergies will appear because cells in the immune system mistake the substance as an outsider, it attacks and builds up antibodies against that bad DNA. Or the GMO seed can cause abnormal growth since our cells are pre- programmed and not knowing what else to do with invaders will grow a wall around it as a form of protection. This would be the cells normal behavior but it may start a tumor or a blockage depending on where it is in the body. So I question; do you really think you want to eat this?

Organic is a very popular but misunderstood word. Organic means food grown with no chemicals, no pesticides, no GMO seeds and if its meat, fish or chicken it also includes no hormones and no antibiotics.

Yes, it can be a little more expensive but organic is much safer, it contains more healing power; for it is much more nutritious than natural, conventional or GMO.

Additionally, that means you are not eating empty calories, so actually, your saving money in the process per a European Study in 2008 which found organic fruits and vegetables contain 40% more disease fighting compounds and antioxidants than conventional equivalents. In organic milk the Omega 3’s are 68% higher. Other studies confirm organic grown foods have more Vitamin C, iron and mineral content plus three times a higher quality protein.

All this means is that if it is Organic it’s a higher nutrient content per calorie, per serving and per dollar; besides it‘s tastier, fresher and has more flavor!

Do remember when you read conflicting study results to ask yourself who funded this study and was it a good study! Many of these quote studies are done with questionable parameters and also fudged—I am sure that you realize results need to be in the best interest of the funded company; so what if they are lying to the general public!

Amy Dean, DO, founder of EcoLogical Internal Medicine in Ann Arbor Mich. and President of American Academy of Environmental Medicine says that even though GMO’s have not been studied on humans, its animal studies (closest to our type of body system), shows that they cause changes in the immune system, disrupt fertility and even trigger aggression and anger. She has seen many patients with very similar reactions. Too to many to be just coincidental. Dean recommends avoiding them by eating organic or foods labeled as non-GMO as much as possible.

How to tell if it’s Organic:

General Key Codes at the Supermarkets:

  • Organically grown—code # starts with 9 and has 5 digits
  • Conventional grown—code # starts with 4 and has 4 digits
  • GMO grown—code # starts with 8 and has 5 digits

Local Farmers Markets have started up everywhere. This is the best way to be sure of how your fruits, vegetables and meats were grown, best bargains, most nutritious and the freshest. Here market produce is in most cases, just picked that morning or the day before and are in their highest nutritious state. In comparison to your grocery store which has stored, shipped and packed produce picked many days and weeks ahead, so naturally at much lower nutritious state by the time you buy!

Talk to the farmer himself to find out growing methods many are organic but not certified (due to high cost of certification), and others may be certified organic, but all are superior for health. Supporting your local farmers also helps your local community.

So please start voting where it counts, when you purchase your food!