Importance of Natural Resources

Does Pressure Cooking Preserve Nutrients?


“Does Pressure Cooking
Preserve Nutrients?” In a review of more than a
hundred articles about the effects of cooking on vegetables,
they tried to find the sweet spot. On one hand, heat can
destroy certain nutrients; on the other hand, by
softening the tissues they can become more bioavailable. Researchers settled upon steaming
as the best cooking method to preserve the most nutrition. You’re not dunking
it in water or oil where the nutrients can leach out, and you’re not reaching excessive
dry heat temperatures. But they acknowledge that of
all the common cooking methods, we know the least about
pressure cooking. There’s all these fancy new electric
pressure cookers on the market, including the Instant Pot,
with more five-star ratings than even How Not to Die—I’m jealous! These pressure cookers are
great for cooking dried beans with just a touch of a button. But what happens to the nutrition? Here’s the antioxidant content
of presoaked black beans boiled for an hour normally. Compare that to pressure
cooking for 15 minutes…. Even more. In fact, six times more! Wow! Here I was pressure cooking
just because I liked the texture better (the canned ones can be a bit mushy), and I was spending lots of
money on cases of canned beans, whereas dried beans are
just so dirt cheap. So wait, cheaper,
tastier, and healthier? That’s quite a combo. OK, but what about
pressure-cooking vegetables? Vitamin C is one of the
more heat-sensitive nutrients. Sauté spinach or amaranth
leaves in a pan for 30 minutes, and about 95 percent of
the vitamin C is destroyed; whereas 10 minutes
in a pressure cooker wiped out only about 90 percent. But who pressure cooks
spinach for 10 minutes? And sautéing for
a half an hour? And even then, not
much effects on beta carotene levels either way. Vitamin C is but one
of many antioxidants. What about the effects of pressure
cooking on overall antioxidant capacity? Here’s the cooking methods
they compared. So, for the carrots, for
example, 12 minutes of boiling, compared to 5 minutes
of pressure cooking, compared to 6 minutes
of microwaving. Here’s what they found. Cooking carrots increased
their antioxidant potential. In fact, pressure cooking nearly
doubled their antioxidant value, whereas peas took a hit no
matter how they were cooked. I’m particularly
interested in the greens. The chard wasn’t affected
much across the board, but microwaving beat
out pressure cooking and boiling for the spinach. Note that pressure cooking
beat out the boiling too, though, and pressure cooking is boiling (just at a shorter time
at a higher temperature.) But the time appeared to
trump the temperature. Significantly less nutrient
loss pressure cooking spinach for three and a half
minutes compared to boiling for eight. Same for those magical cancer-
fighting glucosinolate compounds in cruciferous greens—
the healthiest greens like kale, collards,
and turnip greens. Here’s where levels
started out raw, with three-quarters
wiped out by boiling, but less than half
with pressure-cooking. Now both got beat by steaming,
but that’s because you weren’t dunking the greens in water,
which can leach out the nutrients. But even though the
pressure-cooked greens were immersed just as
much as the boiled greens, only half the nutrient losses,
presumably because it was only half the time—
7 minutes pressure cooked compared to 15 minutes boiled. OK, so here’s my idea. This was after 10 minutes of steaming. What if you cut down that
time by pressure steaming, like put a layer of
water down at the bottom of an electric pressure cooker,
drop in a metal steaming basket on top, and then put the greens
in and steam under pressure? That’s how I cook the
greens I eat every day. I’ve always loved collards
in like southern cooking, or Ethiopian cuisine, and I
found I could get that same melt-in-your-mouth texture just steaming under pressure
for zero minutes. What you do is set it for zero,
so it shuts off as soon as it reaches the cooking pressure, and then
quick release valve it immediately to release the steam. The greens turn out perfect— bright emerald green,
cooked tender. Give it a try, and let
me know what you think.


Reader Comments

  1. For more practical cooking videos, check out Best Way to Cook Vegetables (https://nutritionfacts.org/video/best-way-to-cook-vegetables/), How to Cook Greens (https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-cook-greens/), and The Best Way to Cook Sweet Potatoes (https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-best-way-to-cook-sweet-potatoes/).

  2. Been doing this for generations…another thing we country folk we been doing for a long time…pressure cooking is for more than just canning

  3. I figure it's better to use a pressure cooker and eat foods I normally won't eat without it. I cannot consume a lot of these foods without my pressure cooker due to time availability in cooking meals.

  4. Hi Doctor, I am planning to buy IRON SKILLET very soon. Is it suitable for me? I have Hashimoto thyroid disorder, high blood and cholestrol. Please advice ASAP. Appreciate your concerns. 😊

  5. First of all, I like your videos and podcast. I am getting a little 'single study sensationalism' and potential cherry picking feeling though, justified or unjustified, could you please address this in a future episode (or just in the comments :p)?

  6. I was just typing about pressure streaming when you finally got to it at the end. That's how I cook most of my veggies.

  7. Here's a thought… you want more nutrients, stop cooking your vegetables. Anything over 115 degrees destroys the enzymes and lowers the nutrients.

  8. One of the most practical videos I’ve seen in a long time. I have a pressure cooker. Now I’m going to steam greens in it. 🙂

  9. Always cook within an open top container or trivet I've found to be best method; bit bane-marie type technique but effectively cooking only by steam influence rather than directly conducted heat; instead cooking purely under steam radiatative heat under pressure and a relatively quick technique. The water is merely the material to turn into steam and should not be used to contact directly. Microwaves particularly damage amino acids which can then become blockers for undamaged amino acids causing deficiencies which can, as an example, lead to Necrolytic Migratory Erythema islet-cell carcinomas (pancreatic cancers-https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/necrolytic-migratory-erythema/ the lack of aminos is not a result but major CAUSE) and other cancers and implicated in neurological degeneration also (alzhiemers; autism, etc). Would never advocate any use of a microwave for cooking; best saved for warming slightly dampened cold clothing or accelerated drying of wood and such….never for anything consumed. But then Agenda 21/2030 would advocate microwaves and 5G and wi-fi and "security" scanners…………..

  10. Im confused because FitTubers in India is the EXACT opposite and said it takes 90% of nutrients away with a pressure cooker and is the worst. Clay pot cooking was said to be the best

  11. Great idea, and also good to see that the other methods aren't total failures, for those who don't have access to that equipment. As you say, actually eating the veggies is the most important thing.

  12. I feel the electric pressure cooker is actually steaming. Nothing I cook sits in water, all the contents are suspended on a trivitt above the water in the bottom of the cooker. The only thing I boil are eggs.

  13. Do you remember a couple decades or so ago they were saying pressure cooking food made the food provoke a strong immune response in the body? Trying to find what/where that was and not finding it now (?)

  14. You are one of the most heavily biased motherfuckers in the scientific community. And you look 30 years older than you are. You look like shit and I’m sure even lifting a fork is a struggle. Fucking hacks. Can’t believe I ever listened to such a malnourished nutsack like yourself. I feel sorry for people who think you speak the truth.

  15. I cook most of my food in one pot – greens, potatoes (not dried beans!) – am I hanging onto most of the vitamins that way, since I'll be consuming it all?

  16. I gotcha. Some people make a batch of lugumes/whole grains for a week or more worth of meals and refrigerate. Or freeze for even greater longevity.

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