How cooking food can affect its nutrient content

You might already know that you should eat certain foods for different vitamins and minerals but did you know that they way you cook them could have an impact on a food’s nutrient content?

According to this article by Healthline, some vegetables can lose as much as 50% of their vitamin C when boiled. While some foods, such as eggs, can see their nutrient content increase with cooking, many foods see a great loss of nutrients; especially water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C and B vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, and minerals like potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium.

Steaming vegetables is one of the best cooking methods for maintaining nutrient content, where water-soluble vitamins are saved from water leaching. Broccoli, for example, loses only 9-15% of its vitamin C content when steamed versus 50% or more when boiled.

Newly discovered benefits of astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is a well known antioxidant but this article from NutraIngredients USA has reported on research that suggests that, beyond its links to healthier skin, joints and heart, it could also have benefits in supporting brain health.

The research took place in two countries, USA and Japan, and looked at different areas of the brain and the effects astaxanthin had on them. In the US, the study saw significant improvements in depression, mental fatigue and overall mood state, with depression decreasing by 57%. In Japan, the study looked at cognitive function and memory, and found a 22.3% improvement in composite memory.

While more research is needed, these are promising results that could show further benefits of this powerful antioxidant.

plant based diet impact on brain health

The effect of a plant-based diet on the brain

While Metabolics highlighted the difficulties in securing certain nutrients on a plant-based diet in last week’s Nutrition News, as discussed in the article, there are also a lot of benefits.

This recent article by Medical News Today suggests that a balanced plant-based diet could support cognitive health, where a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and wholegrains and low in animal products could lower the risk of cognitive decline later in life.

The article references a study that occurred between April 1993 and December 1998 and involved 63,257 Chinese people. In assessing their diets and cognitive function, the study’s authors found that those that followed a diet closely matched to the plant-based diets were 18-33% less likely to develop cognitive impairment compared to those with the least similar diets to the plant-based diets that were being assessed.

While the findings are interesting and certainly suggest there are some nutritional benefits to eating a diet that is more plant-based, it is worth noting that the study assessed data that wasn’t specifically captured for this and more research would be needed to establish a link between plant-based diets and reduced risk of cognitive decline.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is Director and Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.