The Science Behind Waterless Cooking Of Vegetables

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Consumption of vegetables is good for your health. There is no argument to it. In fact, consuming vegetables on a regular basis can prevent many lifestyle-based diseases. The National Health Promotion Campaigns for the 21st Century (Healthy Japan 21) advocated that adults need to eat 350g or more vegetables daily for maintaining good health. However, as per their study, most adults between the ages of 20-39 consume only 250g of vegetables which is far below the recommended level. 

Students, in particular, skip their meals a lot and rely on fast food as one of their main meals. As per their research, this category of individuals consumes an average of only 130g of vegetables per day. This makes it imperative to maintain a routine and follow it strictly if one is to maintain good health.

But it is not just the quantity, the way we cook vegetables too have an important role in maximizing the nutrition of vegetables. Steaming, baking and such waterless methods of cooking are the way to go. In fact, multiple pieces of research provide ample evidence that cooking your vegetable in water depletes it of nutrition.

The Research

science behind waterless cooking of vegetables

A research was conducted to establish these claims where the vegetables are cooked using traditional methods while in another the vegetable was cooked in modified cookware to preserve the water-soluble nutrients to the best extent possible. 

Volunteers were asked to continue this routine for 2 weeks during which the volunteers’ blood and urine samples were tested among other factors. The volunteers were divided into 3 groups: Group A, vegetables were cooked without using water using a “multi-ply layer” cookware; Group B, used ordinary cookware to cook the vegetables and Group C continued with their regular routine. Groups A and B were supplied with fresh vegetables twice a week and received cooking training so that they could use the cookwares appropriately. 

Health examination was conducted for all groups before and after the study to compare the records. This included height, weight, body fat ratio, blood pressure, heart rate and other relevant factors.

It was found that vitamin C levels increased after the study for Group A and B while no significant change was observed in Group C. Blood beta-carotene increased significantly for Group A and B while there was no significant change in Group C. Blood total cholesterol decreased in Group A and B while Group C remain unchanged.

 The increase in vitamin C and beta-carotene was also accompanied by a significant reduction in ox-LDL (a potentially harmful type of cholesterol) in Group A which indicates cooking of vegetables in “multi-ply layer” cookware helps in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease significantly in the long run.

The Result

The study conducted between water-free cooking of vegetables in “multi-ply layer” cookware and vegetables cooked in ordinary cookware clearly confirm that water-free cooking enables more efficient utilisation of antioxidants which is expected to have better results in preventing cardiovascular diseases in comparison to cooking done by ordinary methods.

So, how can we adopt the results of this study to improve our lifestyle? Simply by adopting waterless cooking methods like steaming and baking vegetables. But truth to be told, most people don’t like steamed vegetables. They are sometimes bland for our tastebuds. The better way is to cook in multi-ply cookware, as the volunteers did, so that you can cook it to your liking by minimizing the use of water.

What Is 3-Ply Cookware?

science behind waterless cooking of vegetables

In case our readers haven’t noticed, one of the key factors that lead to the conclusion for the test conducted above involved a “multi-ply layer” cookware which helped in retaining the nutrition to a large extent. So, what is a “multi-ply layer” cookware? A “multi-ply layer” cookware essentially refers to layers of metal used in the construction of the bottom of the utensil. Once these metals are bonded with each other, you can utilise the properties each metal has to offer its users.

 In that context, 3-ply cookware essentially involves 3 layers of metal which is most commonly stainless steel, aluminium or copper. Here, a layer of aluminium is sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel. There are several manufacturers in the market that also have 5-ply and 7-ply cookware. But many experts are of the opinion that  5 ply cookware doesn’t necessarily provide noticeable benefits compared to 3-ply.

The Benefits Of 3-Ply Cookware

The benefits of this new variant of cookware are immense as proven by the research mentioned above. Listing some of the other advantages for our reader’s benefit.

  • Its ability to conduct heat effectively allows cooking the food properly even on low flame. This also helps in retaining the taste and nutrition of the food to a large extent.
  • The use of oil is reduced considerably since its ability to conduct heat and spread it across evenly helps in enhancing the taste of the food without burning them.
  • 3 ply cookware lasts much longer than regular stainless steel cookware. In fact, most of them last for decades.
  • The construction quality of these cookware are quite superior. They are non-reactive and do not leach. The metal components are treated and thoroughly checked before they are used for manufacturing the utensils.
  • 3-ply cookware are cost-effective in the long run since they are known to last much longer than regular cookware. While the initial cost for a 3-ply cookware may be higher, its cost gets subsumed in the long run.

Points To Consider

Whichever variant of “multi-ply layer” cookware you choose, make sure that the quality of the material is at par. The simple benchmark you need to follow in this case is; the thicker the material is, the more durable it will be. Thick cookware may conduct heat slowly but they distribute and retain the heat evenly throughout. Make it a point to compare different brands and compare the thickness of the cookware. Bottomline – The thickness and the material of the ply matters more than the number of layers. For this reason, cooking in thick cast iron cookware is also equally beneficial.

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