The vitamins in the foods we eat affect our inner health and outer beauty.
The Journal of American College of Nutrition cites this in a February 2001 study. But, going back 68 years, the March 1943 Volume 8 Journal of Food Science cites studies about the effects of cooking on the retention of nutrients.
This is certainly nothing new! But it’s something we easily forget when throwing together a quick dinner.
Vitamin C especially has been touted as great for skin and bodies. Those eating diets high in this super vitamin are proven to have fewer wrinkles. Unfortunately for our skin, vitamin C is one of the most vulnerable nutrients. It is easily oxidized by light, air and heat, and it’s water-soluble, meaning it dissolves in H20.
Now, when you’re enjoying an orange, this doesn’t really matter, since you peel it and eat it right away. But for cooking, it does. Consider broccoli, a vegetable that’s a rich source of vitamin C.
If you overcook your broccoli in water, its vitamin C will leach out and oxidize, and your skin won’t see all of the benefits it could.
Luckily—and going back to those 1943 studies—we can practice simple cooking procedures the help prevent of nutrient loss and help produce foods that are delicious, enjoyable—and packed with beauty benefits.
Here are my top beauty-enhancing cooking tips:
Rinse Sequence: Wash plants before cutting them to prevent the loss of water-soluble nutrients.
Big Pieces: Cut vegetables in large pieces to decrease exposed surface area during cooking and then if desired cut into small pieces after cooking for added flavoring, palatability and ease of chewing.
Same, Same, Same: Think consistency in size for consistency in doneness. Cutting our broccoli into same size pieces will allow it to cook evenly. Regardless of your cooking method, this will prevent smaller pieces from overcooking and excessive nutrient loss.
She Scores! Since the floret part of broccoli will cook faster than the stalk, scoring the broccoli stalk will allow it to cook quicker and evenly with the floret. Brussels sprouts would be scored by cutting a crossed X cut on the bottom, about one third deep into the “baby cabbage” core. This allows each vegetable’s dense core to cook evenly with it’s leafy exterior. Since both are cruciferous plants containing both soluble and insoluble fiber, you’ll gain the best beauty benefits by cooking them just a little, and then chewing them very well for the greatest nutrient absorption.
In Hot Water: Boil water first before adding plants to reduce the time in water. Use the leftover cooking liquid whenever possible (in garnish or to cook an accompaniment) to retain the nutrients that were leached out while boiling.
Slow Food: Cook tender leafy greens like spinach low and slow (without adding liquid) as they have enough moisture content on their own.
Recipe for Fewer Wrinkles: This broccoli, bean, onion and leek soup is a quick way to enjoy broccoli, minimize nutrient loss and capture these beauty and complexion enhancing benefits in your soup.
In a 4-quart pot sauté two cups diced onions on medium heat in 2 teaspoons canola or extra virgin olive oil until transparent, add 2 teaspoons fresh chopped garlic and cook with out browning while stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add one cup washed and diced leeks (white part only) and sauté 2 minutes. Add 5 cups vegetable stock, increase heat and bring to a simmer. Add one 16-ounce can of your choice (drained and rinsed) great northern, navy or cannellini beans along with two pounds of raw broccoli florets or three 10-ounce packages of frozen broccoli florets and simmer on medium heat until broccoli is lightly cooked but still crunchy. Add one quarter teaspoon black pepper and one teaspoon salt. Turn off heat and blend with a vertical stick blender until completely pureed and serve.
Unlike expensive wrinkle creams, with food you can nourish and beautify your skin as well as your entire body while eating great tasting healthy food at less cost—such a deal!