Steaming Vegetables Is a Healthy Preparation MethodCooking vegetables in water causes some of the nutrients to leach out into that same water. For example, boiled broccoli loses glucosinolate, the compound that may be responsible for its cancer-fighting properties. Steaming vegetables may help retain more nutrients. Steamed broccoli holds on to more glucosinolate than boiled or fried broccoli. This 2008 study published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has been followed up by a study conducted at the University of Illinois. Broccoli is an excellent source of sulforaphane which is a plant compound which has shown anti-cancer properties. For the sulforaphane to form, another compound must be present – myrosinase. Research found that broccoli when steamed retained the myrosinase necessary to form the cancer-fight sulforaphane. Boling and microwaving broccoli even for one minute destroyed the myrosinase.
Here are some tips for easy and effective steaming.
· Cut the vegetables into uniform sizes so that they cook at roughly the same rate and are all done at the same time. You can mix vegetables, but be aware that more tender vegetables, like broccoli, will cook faster than denser vegetables, like carrots. If you want to steam mixed vegetables at the same time, add the longer-cooking veggies first and then the quicker-cooking veggies after a few minutes. You can also cut the denser vegetables slightly smaller so that they cook more quickly and finish at the same time as the rest of the vegetables.
· Arrange the vegetables with the toughest, thickest parts in the middle where they will get more steam and heat.
· Herbs, spices and garlic can be added to the water which will enhance flavor. Another option is to replace water with broth.
No matter how you slice it, vegetables are good for you pretty much any way you prepare them, and most of us don’t eat enough of them.