What happens to the nutritive value of food during the process of cooking?
The process of cooking – health values of food- procedures of cooking
All the food we eat has its origin in nature, and nature provides all its riches in them, such that they can be consumed in raw form, i.e., with no processing. However, one keeps in mind gustation, rather than nutrition, when it comes to food. This attribute (taste) is added to food through cooking.
But what happens to the nutritive value of food during the process of cooking?
Influence of cooking on carbohydrates: Starchy foods are made more digestible by cooking. Ordinary cooking causes little loss of carbohydrates.
Influence of cooking on protein: Digestibility of proteins in several food items improves as a result of moderate heating as in day-today-cooking. It is important to cooking. It is important to cook proteins to the right extent, because proteins shrink and harden when overcooked. This also renders them indigestible.
Influence of cooking fats: As in the case of carbohydrates, usual cooking practices do not influence fats to any great extent. However, one must take care not to heat fat/oil more than smoking point (the point at which the fat or oil appears to ‘smoke’) repeatedly, for frying break down to form certain harmful substances; the practice of repeated re-heating of fats should therefore be avoided.
Influence of cooking on vitamins and minerals: Cooking plays havoc with enzymes, vitamins and some mineral salts. Both vitamin A and thiamine are destroyed when heated. Vitamin C is easily oxidised when exposed to air, and in this oxidised form it is of no use to the body. Ordinarily, enzymes of foods cooked at temperatures higher then 50degree C also get destroyed.
Certain benefits of cooking are:
- It makes the food tasty, tempting and hence readily acceptable. It is a scientifically proven fact, that if food does not tempt a person, then his/her glands will not release the juicy substance and other digestive elements which helps to transform the food into life force.
- It eliminates harmful organisms found in food.
- The nutritive value of some proteins of legumes, such as soybean, chickpea and lentils, improves when cooked
- Cooking makes food easy to chew and digest.
So the point of contention is in the cooking of vegetables and fruits that we eat for our minerals and vitamin needs.
The challenges before a person is to plan a meal in such a way that a part of the vegetables is served in cooked form, and part of it is uncooked as in raitas, chutneys etc. Such that the overall meal tasty and nutritious