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Nutrient profile of cooked vs uncooked foods (herbs, spices, nuts, liquids)

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  • Nutrient profile of cooked vs uncooked foods (herbs, spices, nuts, liquids)

    I'm a lazy student. And, as a result, I've recently been in the habit of preparing meals in advance so they're quick and easy to consume. This is especially for breakfast.

    And when I say "preparing", I basically mean blending whatever I can get my hands on.

    For example, most days I eat:
    Blended: 12 eggs, 200g spinach, 9 brazilnuts, 18 almonds, 1 clove garlic, 2T lemon juice, green tea leaves (from tea bag because I'm lazy)

    With a side dish of:
    Blended (all raw): Carrots, cucumber, onion, garlic, mushrooms, banana, pineapple, avocado... And whatever other veg looks appealing when I go shopping

    It all tastes surprisingly good. Like, very good. The former I fry for a couple mins ala scrambled egg/omelette/whatever. The latter I slop into my mouth. And theoretically healthy, right?

    It led me onto thinking:

    (Tl;dr'ers start reading now)

    Does cooking damage the nutrient profile of food? I've read various research on "normal" foods, such as eggs, (boiled) veg, meat.
    But what about herbs and spices? Including salt and pepper. They seem more flavoursome when added after cooking, but they don't mix as well. And as an extension, tea leaves?
    What about nuts?
    And what about liquids, such as lemon juice or vinegar? I presume part will evaporate, but what about what's left?

    Obviously frying for only a couple minutes will have less effect that baking for a couple of hours, but I'm still very curious.

    And on a completely unrelated side-note, does anyone know how I can test (for myself) the nutrient profile of food? Say, on cheap eggs from a cheap supermarket vs expensive free-range ones from an expensive one. Everyone talks about fat/prot/carbs but not about everything else.

  • #2
    It depends on the food. Cooking enhances the nutrient profile in some foods, such as tomatoes (cooking increases the lycopene). Garlic, on the other hand, should be peeled and exposed to air for a while before using because it enhance it's natural properties. Cruciferous vegetables are actually harmful to people with thyroid disease until they're cooked. Some tubers must be cooked or they are poisonous. Most vegetables, however, should only be lightly sauteed or steamed or it will destroy their nutrient profile. If you boil, drink the water as well as it leaches most of the nutrients out.
    High Weight: 225
    Weight at start of Primal: 189
    Current Weight: 174
    Goal Weight: 130

    Primal Start Date: 11/26/2012


    • #3
      Salt should really often be used as a flavor enhancer rather than its own flavor. Because of osmosis, salt will draw the liquids out of a food, thereby deepening the flavor of that food. Cooking does the same thing really, which is why things generally shrink as they cook (not boiled), and may be why most folks prefer most meats cooked (and salted). Since salt is basically minerals, I don't think it changes too much when cooked.

      Some people are sensitive to black pepper not cooked in something. (Diverticulitis is one condition that will make uncooked black pepper hurt).

      That's all I've got.
      "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine


      Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.


      • #4
        Originally posted by EagleRiverDee View Post
        It depends on the food.
        I'm aware of some of what you said, and thanks for the rest! But I was specifically asking about the "non-foods" like herbs, spices, nuts, liquids etc. Do you have any info on these?

        Originally posted by JoanieL View Post
        That's all I've got.
        Well, I feel honoured you gave me all you've got ^^ Very interesting. It's finding the right quantity to bring out the flavour without adding it's own; that's the hard part!