Q & A Thursday: cooked vegetables and their nutrients
Posted by kathryn in Vegetables
The next question in Q & A Thursday comes from Tian:
I just had lunch of chilli chicken and veg. Because it was already packed in the tupperware, the green veg was no longer green. When veg lose their colour do they lose their nutrient content as well, making them not worthwhile eating?
From the moment vegetables are picked they start losing nutrients. Therefore the shorter the distance and time between harvest and you eating them, the better.
Vegetables also lose nutrients whenever they’re processed or cooked. And the loss of colour you’re seeing is because some of the nutrients have leached out or degraded.
Sounds bad doesn’t it?
But, hold your horses. Don’t give up on eating vegetables. Because of course, it’s more complex than that.
- While some nutrients have been lost, there’s still plenty of goodness in there. Your vegetables, even with the colour loss, have fibre, minerals and vitamins. This alone gives you reason to carry on eating them.
- While some antioxidants do degrade during cooking, others actually get more accessible. The classic example is lycopene which is more accessible in cooked and processed tomatoes than it is in fresh.
- The vegetables are filling you up, while adding only small amounts of kilojoules to your diet. Therefore they’re helping you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
- Without these vegetables, even with the colour loss that has occured, you’ll be missing out on important nutrients.
So, please, please, PLEASE carry on eating your vegetables. Include plenty in your diet – both in quantity and variety. Aim for at least five serves a day to maximise your health.
What is Q & A Thursday?
This post is part of Q & A Thursday – a monthly burst of blogging, where you get to dictate the subject matter. Q & A Thursday is all about simple, practical answers to food and diet dilemmas sent in by readers.
For more information you can take a look at the Q & A Thursday archives.