Are there any nutrients in cooked vegetables?

I can eat a lot more cooked vegetables than raw. I've been lightly stir-frying and then adding a few inches of water and simmering for about 10 minutes. Vegetables like acorn squash, shallots, green cabbage, rutabagas, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, baby bok choy and others. It makes me feel better but am I getting any significant nutrients after cooking them? I do consume the water/broth too.

I was also thinking about making different vegetable broths - possibly straining out the vegetables first - and keeping some of this in the fridge to cook with . Would this kind of broth also have any nutritional value.


  • Hi Butterfly,

    Yes! Much of the nutrient loss comes from the nutrients leaching out into the water when boiling vegetables. By consuming the vegetable broth, you are still getting those lost nutrients. There are some nutrients that are degraded by heat, but most will remain intact.


    Karen Stark
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • @butterfly

    I actually looked into this a few years ago. While raw, freshly-picked vegetables have the greatest concentration of nutrients, they start to degrade fairly quickly. Refrigerating (and especially freezing) fruits and vegetables helps to slow this process down.

    When it comes to cooking, steaming and boiling are on par; the better method is ultimately the one that is shorter. Stir-frying and roasting (at lower temperatures) are also a good option since they don't leach any nutrients into water.

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • I've weighed the pot that i deep fry in before and after frying stuff. Deep frying doesn't really add that much oil to food.

    at least it doesn't seem to be worse then sauteing in a tbls of oil....the water vapor keeps the fat off the food for the most part.

    I am an amateur. I've been using CRON-O-Meter for 10 years and counting, still learning.....

  • I make a point of not deep frying anything. The hot fat/oil smells up the house and likely adds grease residue to bodies. Why tempt fate? Clean cooking is the way to go IMHO.

  • yeah, that's why i weigh my pot before and after frying a batch of something. so that i can add the weight of the oil to the recipe in cron-o-meter...i personally like the smell of frying food so that's not an issue of mine...

    Granted i don't use much oil, i avoid it mostly in favor of whole food plant fats because they have vitamin e to go along with it...and protein, vitamins, minerals, etc....

    I am an amateur. I've been using CRON-O-Meter for 10 years and counting, still learning.....

  • We all have our personal preferences - that's all that truly matters.

  • And that's why CRON-o-Meter is great too! It's the tool you can use to invent your OWN diet! Instead of buying a feeling from a diet guru, invent your own.

    I am an amateur. I've been using CRON-O-Meter for 10 years and counting, still learning.....

  • edited October 2018

    Thank you everyone. Knowing that a lot/most of the nutrients are still in the food I'm cooking is really helpful. I realize some must get broken down and evaporate but I was concerned it may be too much. (nutrients lost) It's also good to know that some nutrients become easier to digest.
    I have this theory that in nature the sun would break down/cook some vegetables and fruits anyway, as well as some just rotting/fermenting so our bodies should have some adaptation to getting nutrition from those. And in nature we wouldn't be only eating perfectly fresh foods, just like animals and birds don't.
    Very interesting what Susan wrote about raw/freshly pickled having the highest nutrient content but ultimately breaking down pretty quickly. I really want to try making sauerkraut and kimche but I think I'd eat them pretty soon then after making them. I'm trying to freeze some seasonal produce - not to keep for ages but just to prolong maybe by a month or two how long I can eat something. (Winter in the Midwest USA gets VERY difficult for finding any really fresh produce at all).
    I am chopping up winter squash into cubes and freezing them uncooked. Apples I learned that you should refrigerate if possible as they lose nutrients pretty quickly too. I was surprised about that. Same with winter squash so that's why I started just prepping and freezing them.
    Also loved to know that stir-frying and slow roasting helps things maintain nutrients because they don't get saturated in water (that is thrown away) and cooked quickly as in stir frying.
    At one point I came to believe all oils were evil and stopped using any for a long time but I had to make a decision for my own health that I really needed to get some food in my stomach - and I just couldn't digest tons of raw veg or fruit. So I've started this stir frying - only for a few minutes and not on a super high heat (although traditionally it would be higher) and then adding extra water and letting it all simmer on a very low heat for another 10 minutes or so. I'm adding bits of fresh raw onion, green onions, apples and a little raw cabbage or other greens slowly. This week I felt like my energy was a little more stable and I could think more clearly and my weight has somewhat stabilized. One part of me is still going WHY are you putting oil in that pot? and feeling afraid. :neutral: But right now that's what I need to do to get back in balance. I use organic unrefined sesame oil and a small amount of light organic olive oil (not cold pressed for either).
    It was very reassuring and informative to read the comments people posted, thank you so much.

  • Dear Butterfly, you are a woman after my own <3 . I've found a new YouTube channel that I've been watching for a week or two. One of the things I'm planning to make is
    saurerkraut. Yes, they say it's healthy for our gut. The Youtube site is https://www.townson\ Just Google Townson & Sons; you will love them! Also, re: your energy, check out Ketogenic Diet and do not concern yourself about fat. Get some Coconut oil and start your day with it, plus coffee. IMHO, AMA and FDA have EVERYTHING UPSIDE DOWN. Just read about Keto and decide for yourself. I've been on Keto a year in December and my energy level is high! And NOW, all my blood levels are normal...prior to Keto they were not. Later, girl. :)

  • Butterfly, PS...check out Dr, Mercola's website - he got me started on HIS Cron-o-meter and explained new, updated nutrition models based on recent research. Also look up Dr. Russell Jaffee...both share updated knowledge based on MD and scientific research at Ph.D. levels!

  • edited October 2018

    For me, i find it easier to hit my 95% with beans, grains(rice bran anyway) and seeds....And a tablespoon of oil for sauteing only adds 120 cals, so no big deal. But i do measure it, to make sure it's 1 tablespoon!

    And i LOVE fermented food too! <3 I brew beer about 3 times a month! lol

    I am an amateur. I've been using CRON-O-Meter for 10 years and counting, still learning.....

  • I have a story to share about grains. but we all must find our own path to health. Everything takes TIME...and that's the frustrating part...each of us needs to try many pathways before we find what works best for our unique metabolism. Several years ago I had an online acquaintance who was stressed out about gut bacteria! I thought to myself, OMG, what a hypochondriac! Well, 6 months later I found that I was having gut issues that required me to take a closer look. And from there I learned that Gut Microbes are important because of how they influence other parts of our body.

    Over time, microbiota forms colonies to combat obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disease, and even certain forms of cancer.

    The bottom line: The more diversity you have in your gut bacteria, the better off you’ll fare in the long run.

  • @butterfly

    What irritates me most about nutrition research is it takes place in a bubble; recommendations are made for cardiovascular disease without considering diabetes; red wine is encouraged for longevity without remembering that it increases risk for breast cancer.

    Oil is a bit of a mixed bag... We know that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fats improves blood lipids. However, it's also true that cooking oils over high heat can introduce free radicals. My practical recommendation is to use oil on an as-needed basis, but just be mindful of the amount and be sure that it is not smoking in your pan.

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • @Kirstin99 I looked at that website! At first I wasn't sure it was the right one when looking at colonial caps for sale, lol, (seriously, I might buy one of those for gardening :D ) but then I found the sauerkraut videos and other cooking videos. He explains it in such a clear and simple way that I'm definitely going to have a go at it. I'm ordering some Kerr canning jars today. I've bookmarked that site and look forward to browsing it. Thanks for sharing that!!

    I'm already a big fan of vintage cookbooks (which started with my grandmothers) although since I don't eat meat, wheat or sugar and makes it difficult to find things but there are ways I can adapt them. It's so interesting to see techniques and recipes they used that later got lost in the mass food producing industries.

    I've considered trying a keto diet. I may try a modified version. Lately I can't eat coconut products which is difficult while eating vegan food. But I can eat avocados and some other oils. I know coconut is super nutritious but I get bad headaches when I eat it lately. I will look up both of those people you referenced. Thanks again!

    @bracconiere I couldn't exist without rice and beans! I try and take days off from eating them but they are a main part of my calories and filling out my diet which is mainly vegetables and really small amounts of fruit. You just gave me a great idea! Well, it's your idea actually but to just pre-portion how much oil I will use - especially for sauteing vegetables- and decide how many days a week I will use that. Then I can worry less that it's really harmful to me. I know I can cook everything in water, and for a long time I did, but I get depressed when everything is cooked that way - it all starts tasting the same to me. But with your idea I can just choose 1 or 2 days a week for a special saute meal - and even then do just a measured amount. Thanks, I feel better already! I've been afraid to eat fermented food because like a lot of people these days it has made me feel awful. But it's been awhile and I can eat a lot of foods I couldn't so I want to make my own saurkraut and kimchee and then eat tiny amounts as an experiment. I know it's super good for your gut if you can tolerate it. Maybe I can build up my gut bacteria that deal with it. Yay beer!! I love and miss it! (Can't do gluten sadly). But it sounds fun to brew it at home. I thought about brewing root beer or ginger beer though!

    @Kirstin99 I love that story, lol. In the past I probably couldn't understand not eating certain foods because I could eat EVERYTHING and did! But I was probably also messing up my gut big time. I lived in London for awhile and lived on flavoured crisps. Now I'm like who WAS that person. I ate so much rubbish it's horrible. But if someone talked about gut bacteria I'm sure I would have had no clue what they were on about. :# I'm glad you shared this because it reminds me to look into this again and focus on increasing my gut bacteria. There used to be some project where you could send a "sample" and they will tell you what bacteria you have. I always wanted to do that & I think I'll look that up again. I hope it still exists. I think the Human biome project? Or something like that. I did an online course about it on Coursera and it was super interesting. More reason to dig in the dirt and garden too!

    @Susan_RD_101 Excellent point about the recommendations being made specifically to improve one health issue but ignoring any possible adverse effects it may have on the whole person and other issues. I hadn't thought of that before but you are so right. If you search one issue they say eat this & this. Kind of like the US medical system, but we won't go there. :( About oil, from reading yours and everyone's comments I've decided to dial it back and be way more frugal with the amount and how often/how I use it. Free radicals scare me. I've decided to use it twice or even once a week and measure a small amount that I feel okay about. Later I may go back to cooking in just water and use small amounts of raw oil lightly on top of food occasionally.

  • Thank you Butterfly for you thoughtful and good comments to all of us. It's always a good feeling to feel appreciated. <3 I still have not tried the sauerkraut recipe. I have everything I need except the rock salt - I've been to the grocery 4 times but always forget to add it to my list! Well, it seems I'm always running out for groceries and spring maybe tomorrow before that big cabbage head goes bad. :o
    I look forward to seeing your comments about those two recommendations; both of them really turned my life around.

  • I haven't been on this site this for a while and clearly have been missing out on some great conversations. One thing that strikes me over and over is how often the Abuelas and Nonnas of the world got it right despite their lack of peer-reviewed science and the corruption of that science showing up so often in best-selling diet books.

    "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Michael Pollan

  • edited October 2018

    @Kirstin99 You're very welcome! I'm so grateful for you and others reaching out to share your personal wisdom, journey's and insights. I'm starting to heal a little bit more so hopefully I can get on here more often to share with the fantastic people here. By the way, I can relate about always needing more groceries and water, lol. Is it because we eat a lot of fresh food? I don't remember shopping so much before. Ready meals and a bag of carrots and a few bottles of wine + endless take-aways. :s If you care to share later I'd love to hear about how the sauerkraut goes. Maybe I can try this week too. lol your big head of cabbage about to go off! I hear ya!

    I will write on the forums about those suggestions and how things progress. Having them turn your life around is certainly inspiring to me! Thanks so much again for sharing. ^^ It's very kind of you!

    @OldHobo Welcome back!

    "One thing that strikes me over and over is how often the Abuelas and Nonnas of the world got it right despite their lack of peer-reviewed science and the corruption of that science showing up so often in best-selling diet books." I agree with this SO much! Well said! Now we just have to try and relearn what they already knew! I hate to think how much wisdom was lost and hope we are able to find it again. Hopefully enough of us care now that we can start to figure things out again. Best wishes and take care.

  • Abuelas and Nonnas huh? Apparently, I've missed them - haven't a clue as to who they are. The 1st nutritionist I read was Adelle Davis. My Mom bought a couple of her books and passed them onto me. In those days I was very concerned about cooking ruining all nutrients. Sound familiar? :D That was a long time ago!! :# Maybe Adelle is the reason Mom started using vitamins and mineral supplements, so I did, too - off and on until more recent years...getting older does funny things to people. She stopped using them when she turned 100 because she said she did not want to live forever. She passed at 107. No one talks or thinks ahead to old (ancient in her case) age, well, many don't...maybe just the ones who move into living places for 55+. I could/should write a book on this topic since I was with her to the end.

    So back to the topic at hand, I eat fresh always and buy organic and non-GMO. No JUNK or even prepared food. Think about it. Mom was born in 1909 and in those days everyone ate canned foods, no junk food, etc. It was 1960+- when the first fast food, McDonald's was created. And then many more came along. Mom never believed in that way of eating. So her diet was always consistent using fresh salads, eggs, dairy, meat, grains, potatoes, vegetables - typical Midwest cooking. Pies and cakes for occasional desserts, horrible cookies! She never allowed candy bars, candy in the house; my parents bought apples and oranges by the bushels for their 4 kids to snack on, anytime. So my point is, I don't believe anyone needs to stress over lack of nutrients as long as it's fresh and not boiled to death/mush. There is little doubt that I take more supplements than normally recomended by most dieticians but my research has indicated that new scientific study has shown that those levels are outdated and sometimes woefully lacking. My goal is to stay healthy, not to stay in touch with my doctors...LOL. Personally, I take 2,000 mg of C/day, 5000IU vitamin D, 300 mg complex magnesium plus many others. OK, I've yakked long enough. Have fun today!

  • Hello, don't look old to me! Abuelas and Nonnas who are they?

  • Hello, Kirstin, and thank you. I feel younger than most men twice my age. My dad and I occasionally went to that first McDonalds in the 50s and early 60s for sacks of 15¢ hamburgers.

    I'm sorry for not making the reference clear but Abuelita is the Spanish language endearment for Grandmother. But more than that, she is the extended family matriarch and typically the keeper of cultural memories and traditions of the clan. Every Caribean and Latin American country has its own culinary traditions but these are really just the aggregate knowledge and experience of these women. Nonna is the Italian equivalent. I might have said Bubbe or Babushka but then if somebody asked me anything about Jewish or Russian food I'd be stuck. :smiley:

    "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Michael Pollan

  • edited October 2018

    Hello OldHobo,
    That's a wonderful bit of cultural history that most Americans, who only speak one language - such as myself, sadly, miss. Plus, I am the youngest of four children so I never knew my Grandparents on either side. LOL, I actually thought these people were authors...well, in a way, they were...of verbal history. Thank you, I've learned something interesting today. :)

  • And here I thought @Kirstin99 was kidding about not knowing who/what an abuela is [shoulder hunch]. You rock @OldHobo glad I did not have to go through that explanation; you cleared it up wonderfully.

    Now back to figuring out how to add home cooked foods to Cronometer and have an accurate database to fight DM.

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