Everyone knows that fried veggies are unhealthy. But is boiled veggie the answer? It certainly doesn’t taste as flavorful, but what does science have to say about it? According to a new study published by the University of Granada in Spain, frying veggies is actually healthier – and tastier – than boiling them in water.
The study’s purpose was to see the effects of cooking methods on important antioxidants and phenols in vegetables. Cooking reduces vitamins C and E, along with beta-carotenes and phenols – the main reason most of us eat veggies.
In the tests, potato, tomato, eggplant and pumpkin were boiled, fried in EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), or boiled in a mixture of oil and water. The levels of moisture, fat, dry matter, phenol contents and antioxidants were measured before and after cooking.
Surprisingly, both methods of cooking don’t lower the levels of antioxidants.
While boiling does nothing to the phenol levels, frying in EVOO raised the levels of phenols in the food; extra phenols (oleuropein, pinoresinol, hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol) are transferred from the oil itself while tchlorogenic acid and rutin are from the vegetables. Combined, these phenols are beneficial as antioxidants, cancer preventives, as well as balance cholesterol levels and contribute to weight loss.
But before you start frying your veggies, remember that you’re going to add calories because of the amount of oil absorbed. But if you aren’t concerned with calories and more concerned with the amount of phenols, then frying in EVOO is the way to go.