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The importance of including vegetables in our diet cannot be emphasized enough. Packed with essential nutrients, phytochemicals and vitamins, vegetables deliver multiple health benefits. They provide nourishment, anti oxidants, help manage weight, reduce the risk of certain types of cancers and improve our body's overall well-being. But do you know it's not just the quantity of veggies you eat that determines the nutrition you get but also how you cook them?

The nutritional value we get from most vegetables greatly depends on the way they are cooked. Over cooking often depletes the essential nutrients in vegetables. Both too much heat and liquid can leach out valuable nutrients in vegetables. Especially, water soluble vitamins are easily destroyed during cooking. It is therefore, often recommended that vegetables should be stir fried, baked or grilled rather than boiled to ensure minimum loss of nutrition. Peeling off the skin also reduces the nutrition as the most nutritive part in case of vegetables such carrots, gourds, potatoes lies just beneath the skin.


  • Avoid boiling vegetables in too much water, as vegetables tend to lose their flavor and nutrients in too much water.
  • If you want to boil vegetables, bring the water to boil for up to 2 minutes before adding to prevent excessive loss of nutrition.
  • Water left after boiling vegetables should not be thrown as it contains nutrients. Use this water for soups and curries.
  • To thicken your vegetable curries don't cook them till the water evaporates just add some corn starch instead.
  • Scrub vegetables rather than peel them, as many nutrients are concentrated close to the skin. Especially in case of potatoes avoid peeling potatoes before cooking them. The skin minimizes nutritional loss during the cooking process.
  • Avoid frying potatoes as 75% of Vitamin C is lost during frying.
  • Minimise the use of oil when browning or shallow frying vegetables. Use a good nonstick pan for frying vegetables as it allows you to cook with little oil and food does not stick.
  • When browning vegetables, rather than first pouring oil in the pan, heat the pan, add veggies and then spray them with oil. This reduces the amount of oil that vegetables absorb during cooking.
  • Do not add baking soda to retain the color as it destroys nutrition
  • Blanch or stir fry vegetables and add them to your favorite dishes such as pastas, pizzas, rice and sandwiches.

Healthy Cooking

  • Microwave:
    Microwave cooks foods faster than most other methods and little or no water is required. It is an excellent way to retain vitamins and color in vegetables.
  • Steam:
    Steaming is a good method for cooking vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, carrots and spinach. Dried legumes and tubers should be pressure cooked as they require long time to cook.
  • Stir-fry:
    Stir-frying is easy and preserves the crispiness, flavor and color of vegetables. Heat a non-stick pan or heavy skillet, add oil only to lightly coat bottom of the pan. Add pieces of vegetables and stir until vegetables are bright and tender-crisp.
  • Bake:
    Baking is done in an oven with dry heat. This method helps retain nutrients and flavors in the vegetables. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, arbi and onions are suited for this method. Simply wash them thoroughly, prick skins, coat with the spices you want and place on a baking sheet in the oven.

We are often bombarded with health messages that eating vegetables raw is the best way to get their maximum nutrition. While, this is true to a great extent, there are some exceptions. Like in case of carrots, they provide more beta carotene when cooked. Lycophene, an antioxidant abundant in tomatoes is available only when tomatoes are well cooked. The starch in potatoes is digestible only when cooked. Different vegetables have different nutritive elements that are released differently. Some are released when eaten raw, some when cooked. The best ways to ensure that you get maximum nutrition from vegetables is to avoid over cooking them, alternate between different methods of cooking and maintain a balance between raw and cooked.


Health Initiative from KS Oils