An Old Spectre Returns, Bearing Unexpected Gifts:
So forever you’ve been told that Steaming is the healthiest way to go for vegetables.
-And that anything other than the pyrotechnic-majesty of outdoor-grilling was nutritional-suicide. Maybe oven-roasting was a close second.
And so far, we’ve thought the experts were right.
Well some new experts have chimed in on an old bogeyman-cooking-method, and there is some light [if-qualified] at the end of the tunnel for that old health-nemesis: Deep Fat Frying…
Magical Plant Chemicals Save Lives:
But before the magic, let’s back up a little bit.
As Dr. Joel Fuhrman might point out, you don’t just get benefits from vegetables out of their water-content, chlorophyll, and bulk.
There are hundreds or even thousands of micronutrients that are packed into each of the reds, greens & oranges we all [should] eat.
And among them are chemicals called Phenols.
Plant Phenols Are Phantastic Pfor You:
What those do for free-range wild plants is usually to protect them against insects and help them survive.
But when they get into us, it turns out that Phenols help in many antioxidant-like ways and are associated with lowering all kinds of diseases, including cardiovascular ailments.
And here’s the kicker that the raw-foodies love to point out: Cooking changes and depletes those beneficial chemicals out of many vegetables.
… Until NOW!
Cooking Depletes Net Phenols Unless You Do This:
Because Dr. Cristina Samaniego Sanchez and her team at the University of Granada in Spain tested-out several domestic cooking methods on the most popular veg used in the somewhat-Mediterranean diet consumed in the general vicinity.
And they found that Boiling and Boiling in oil & water did in-fact remove some of the nutrients and Phenols from the vegetables they tested.
Sautéeing & Deep-Fat-Frying Make Things Better, But Only If You Use EVOO:
Both Sautéeing and Deep-Fat-Frying in Extra Virgin Olive Oil -INCREASED- the total phenol content of the vegetables!
Yes, yes, it also increased the calories and fat content, too.
AND the residual EVOO (what’s up, Rachael Ray?) was also the source of the added-Phenols; Not any chemical-reaction between the veg + oil under heat.
But either way you look at it, even if you add the small amount of what sticks to the food, even after it’s been heated, you are still better-off sautéeing or deep-fat-frying at least the 4 vegetables they tested: Potato, Eggplant, Tomato, and interestingly: Pumpkin.
And Now The Warnings You’ve Already Imagined:
So then, Caveats:
1) Yes, Olive Oil has a very low smoke point, so you have to be watch your thermometer if you dare to deep-fry like that saucy-minx, Cristina.
2) Yes, keeping the weight off is a daily-battle, so you have to be extra careful eating deep-fried food of any type; especially breaded.
3) You absolutely don’t want to use large quantities of EVOO if you’re consuming any of the cooking liquid like a Broth, and in that case something along the lines of Boiling is recommended instead.
4) After you heat the whole batch so hot, you will eventually have to Discard the oil, as it will contain off-flavors you don’t want in other things and be quick to go Rancid.
$$$5) Which ends up being Very Expensive.
6) And yes, the study in-question was probably financed by the Spanish Olive Oil Chamber of Commerce’s Granada branch.
But either way, there you have it! If the opportunity presents, Extra Virgin Olive Oil really Does add some great things to your food other than awesome, rich flavor! -Verified by SCIENCE!.
Stay slim my lovies & check out the details at the Links:
Photo Credits: “French Fries”, by Dragan Sasic
• Source: UGR-Vegetables fried in extra virgin olive oil have more beneficial properties than when boiled
• via: PopSci
• Source Study: FoodChemistry-Phenols and the antioxidant capacity of Mediterranean vegetables prepared with extra virgin olive oil using different domestic cooking techniques