Does cooking vegetables destroy their vitamins?

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Marisa Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics
Cooking vegetables does change the nutrient content but it may not always be in the way you think. Boiling vegetables generally causes water soluble vitamins like vitamin C to leach out into the cooking liquid. So, unless you plan to eat the broth, boiling vegetables is not the most nutritious preparation. 

Instead, cook your vegetables in the least amount of water and as quickly as possible to maximize nutrient retention. For this, steaming and microwaving are recommended.

You might be surprised to learn that cooking some vegetables increases the availability of certain nutrients like beta carotene in carrots and lycopene in tomatoes.
Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
All methods of cooking cause vegetables to lose some nutrients. But boiling can cause the biggest loss.

So when boiling, use a small amount of water. Then simmer for a short time, or until the vegetables are tender. Don't overcook. You can use the veggie water for soup stock or other dishes. The best way to cook vegetables is steaming. Of course, raw is great too!
Harvard Medical School Healthy Eating: A guide to the new nutrition

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Harvard Medical School Healthy Eating: A guide to the new nutrition

Eat real food. That s the essence of today s nutrition message. Our knowledge of nutrition has come full circle: from a time when most people grew and prepared their own food to an era when...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.