The two major reasons why people take to boiling their vegetables instead of frying is that it is easier to prepare – you heat some water, toss in the vegetables, wait a bit, and you’re done; boiling retains the vegetable’s nutrients, right? Well, new research has revealed that frying can actually be healthier than boiling it on the condition that you fry with extra virgin olive oil.
Research by a Spanish University revealed that frying vegetables is healthier than boiling them and the way we perceive healthy cooking is about to be majorly re-shaped.The study shows that potatoes and other vegetables retain more of their healthy phenolic compounds when fried in extra virgin olive oil than when boiled in water.
According to telegraph, the study proved that vegetables fried in extra virgin olive oil increased their antioxidant capacity and chemicals which prevent long-term diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and loss of eyesight. The researchers arrived at this conclusion after their research on vegetables commonly eaten in the Mediterranean diet, such as potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkin and aubergine. They used three cooking methods – frying, boiling and cooking with a mix of extra virgin olive oil and water.
On the other hand, in a controlled experiment researchers cooked four ounces of each vegetable by frying in olive oil, boiling water or boiling in a mix of the two following traditional Spanish recipes and the result showed that using olive oil for frying vegetables increased their fat content and reduced moisture, something not seen in other cooking methods.
Confirming this, a professor at the University of Granada and co-author, Professor Cristina Samaniego Sanchez said “Oil as a means of heat transfer increases the number of phenolic compounds in vegetables, opposite to other cooking methods such as boiling, where heat transfer is done through the water.
“When the phenolic content of the raw vegetable is high, the total content of phenols is increased even more if EVOO is used in the process, and boiling doesn’t affect the final concentration.
“Therefore, we must stress that frying and sautéing conserve and enhance the phenolic composition.
“Hydrothermal cooking methods can be recommended when the food is consumed together with the cooking water, as the addition of EVOO improves the phenolic profile and compensates for the deficiencies of the raw food. In some cases, boiling the vegetables in water reduced their health-boosting properties.
Professor Samaniego added that though frying increased the number of calories in the food, all the cooking methods increase the antioxidant capacity of all vegetables, but boiling is only recommended when both the vegetables and the cooking water are to be consumed.
Meanwhile, other health benefits have been linked to the consumption of extra virgin olive oil. Some of them include:
- It’s a Secret Weapon to Losing Weight: A diet rich in extra virgin olive oil may deliver greater and longer lasting weight loss results than a low-fat diet.
- It Keeps the Heart Young: It is a known fact that as we grow older the heart also goes through a normal aging process but a diet rich in olive oil may be able to slow down the aging of the heart
- Serves as Pain Relief: Extra virgin olive oil contains a substance called oleocanthal, which has anti-inflammatory agents which grow more compelling all the time.
- Reduces the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A diet rich in monounsaturated fats such as the ones found in olive oil, nuts and seeds actually protects from many of these chronic diseases like diabetes
- Helps Mental Agility: Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat, which research suggests helps prevent or slow down the cognitive decline associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s.
- Builds Your Immune System: Loaded with antioxidants – vital for strengthening and protecting your immune system – extra virgin olive oil may help you become more resistant to infection. This wide range of important antioxidants isn’t found in other oils.