Best Way to Cook Vegetables

Best Way to Cook Vegetables
4.64 (92.8%) 100 votes

Boiling, steaming, microwaving, air frying, and sous vide cooking are put to the test for nutrient retention.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

I’ve made videos on how not to die from heart disease, how not to die from cancer, how not to die from other deadly diseases like diabetes, but some of the most popular videos on the site are like …“the best way to cook sweet potatoes.”

All right, then. What’s the best way to cook bell peppers? Here’s the antioxidant power of raw green peppers and red peppers, and microwaving or stir-frying doesn’t seem to do much, though with boiling, there’s a drop. But then, if you measure the antioxidant activity of the leftover boiling water, the antioxidants weren’t destroyed, but just leached out into the cooking water. So, the researcher’s conclusion is that it’s “vital to consume the water used for boiling, in addition to the peppers, as bioactive compounds will be [left over] in the water.” But that’s not the take-away I get from this study. Drink the water or not, red peppers have nearly twice the antioxidant power of green, no matter what you do. So, while both peppers are, by definition, green-light foods, the red peppers, ironically, are even greener.

What about mushrooms? Probably best not to eat them raw, but what’s the best way to cook them? “Since cooking techniques clearly influence the nutritional attributes of mushrooms, the proper selection of [cooking method may be a] key factor to prevent or reduce nutritional losses. And…”microwaving and grilling were established as the best processes to maintain the nutritional profile of mushrooms.” For example, a significant decrease was detected in the antioxidant activity of mushrooms, especially after boiling and frying, while grilled and microwaved mushrooms reached in some cases higher antioxidant activity.

Boiling had a similar negative impact on the antioxidant power of cauliflower, which serves as just kind of a rough proxy for how many phytonutrients of potential benefit we might be losing. Blanching was better, where the cauliflower here was dunked into boiling water for three minutes and then run under cold water to stop it from cooking. I had never heard of steam blanching, but same idea. Steam for three minutes, then cool off, which appears to be better, since you’re not immersing it in water. Though, note there’s not much difference between steaming for six minutes and steaming for three, and then running under cold water. Too bad they didn’t look at roasting—that’s how you make cauliflower taste good. In fact, I’ve got two recipes on roasted cauliflower in my How Not to Die Cookbook (for which all my proceeds go to charity, of course).

There are certain antioxidants we’re especially interested in, though. Like the eyesight and brain-protecting green vegetable compound lutein. Here’s the back of the eyeball. What lutein does is protect those sensitive light-sensing nerves by blocking the high-energy blue light rays, which helps us see better, and may help us think better too. So, researchers looked at the effects of four different cooking methods on lutein concentrations. The first thing you’ll notice is that broccoli has like 50 times more than cauliflower—not a surprise, since lutein is a plant pigment, and cauliflower is too white. Here is it graphically, so you can appreciate the difference.

Then they compared boiling, steaming, microwaving, and sous vide cooking, which is like a fancy name for boiling in a plastic bag. And, boiling actually made lutein levels go up! How is that possible? Heat can actually disrupt the cell walls, and all the little subcellular compartments that can enhance the release of antioxidant compounds. Sous vide was similar; microwaving detrimental, at least for the broccoli, and… steaming the superstar, nearly doubling lutein levels.

Heat isn’t the only way to liberate lutein from greens. If you finely chop spinach, you can double the amount of lutein released during digestion in this experimental model. And make a green smoothie, or pesto, or some kind of puréed spinach dish, and you may triple the bioavailability. But you have to watch the heat. Steaming or boiling is one thing, but super high heat, like stir-frying, can reduce lutein levels to nearly nothing.

Frying is also bad for the purple pigments in blue potatoes—even air-frying; they just seem sensitive to extremely high heat. These special antioxidant plant pigments appear to be sensitive to really high temperatures; so, we should try to avoid frying, especially deep frying. That was one of the conclusions of an expert panel on cooking methods: avoid deep frying foods. Not only the nutrient losses, but all the added oil—not to mention the production of some toxic compounds at those temperatures. So, that continues to be a challenge to the food industry. What’s their solution? Forget deep-fat frying, let’s try frying in pure molten sugar. It’s like the SnackWell cookie phenomenon taken to its logical conclusion. Oh, you want low-fat? We’ll fry in sugar.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Jeff Nelson via flickr. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

I’ve made videos on how not to die from heart disease, how not to die from cancer, how not to die from other deadly diseases like diabetes, but some of the most popular videos on the site are like …“the best way to cook sweet potatoes.”

All right, then. What’s the best way to cook bell peppers? Here’s the antioxidant power of raw green peppers and red peppers, and microwaving or stir-frying doesn’t seem to do much, though with boiling, there’s a drop. But then, if you measure the antioxidant activity of the leftover boiling water, the antioxidants weren’t destroyed, but just leached out into the cooking water. So, the researcher’s conclusion is that it’s “vital to consume the water used for boiling, in addition to the peppers, as bioactive compounds will be [left over] in the water.” But that’s not the take-away I get from this study. Drink the water or not, red peppers have nearly twice the antioxidant power of green, no matter what you do. So, while both peppers are, by definition, green-light foods, the red peppers, ironically, are even greener.

What about mushrooms? Probably best not to eat them raw, but what’s the best way to cook them? “Since cooking techniques clearly influence the nutritional attributes of mushrooms, the proper selection of [cooking method may be a] key factor to prevent or reduce nutritional losses. And…”microwaving and grilling were established as the best processes to maintain the nutritional profile of mushrooms.” For example, a significant decrease was detected in the antioxidant activity of mushrooms, especially after boiling and frying, while grilled and microwaved mushrooms reached in some cases higher antioxidant activity.

Boiling had a similar negative impact on the antioxidant power of cauliflower, which serves as just kind of a rough proxy for how many phytonutrients of potential benefit we might be losing. Blanching was better, where the cauliflower here was dunked into boiling water for three minutes and then run under cold water to stop it from cooking. I had never heard of steam blanching, but same idea. Steam for three minutes, then cool off, which appears to be better, since you’re not immersing it in water. Though, note there’s not much difference between steaming for six minutes and steaming for three, and then running under cold water. Too bad they didn’t look at roasting—that’s how you make cauliflower taste good. In fact, I’ve got two recipes on roasted cauliflower in my How Not to Die Cookbook (for which all my proceeds go to charity, of course).

There are certain antioxidants we’re especially interested in, though. Like the eyesight and brain-protecting green vegetable compound lutein. Here’s the back of the eyeball. What lutein does is protect those sensitive light-sensing nerves by blocking the high-energy blue light rays, which helps us see better, and may help us think better too. So, researchers looked at the effects of four different cooking methods on lutein concentrations. The first thing you’ll notice is that broccoli has like 50 times more than cauliflower—not a surprise, since lutein is a plant pigment, and cauliflower is too white. Here is it graphically, so you can appreciate the difference.

Then they compared boiling, steaming, microwaving, and sous vide cooking, which is like a fancy name for boiling in a plastic bag. And, boiling actually made lutein levels go up! How is that possible? Heat can actually disrupt the cell walls, and all the little subcellular compartments that can enhance the release of antioxidant compounds. Sous vide was similar; microwaving detrimental, at least for the broccoli, and… steaming the superstar, nearly doubling lutein levels.

Heat isn’t the only way to liberate lutein from greens. If you finely chop spinach, you can double the amount of lutein released during digestion in this experimental model. And make a green smoothie, or pesto, or some kind of puréed spinach dish, and you may triple the bioavailability. But you have to watch the heat. Steaming or boiling is one thing, but super high heat, like stir-frying, can reduce lutein levels to nearly nothing.

Frying is also bad for the purple pigments in blue potatoes—even air-frying; they just seem sensitive to extremely high heat. These special antioxidant plant pigments appear to be sensitive to really high temperatures; so, we should try to avoid frying, especially deep frying. That was one of the conclusions of an expert panel on cooking methods: avoid deep frying foods. Not only the nutrient losses, but all the added oil—not to mention the production of some toxic compounds at those temperatures. So, that continues to be a challenge to the food industry. What’s their solution? Forget deep-fat frying, let’s try frying in pure molten sugar. It’s like the SnackWell cookie phenomenon taken to its logical conclusion. Oh, you want low-fat? We’ll fry in sugar.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Jeff Nelson via flickr. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

Here is the “How Not to Die” series I mentioned:

Here’s that popular sweet potato video: The Best Way to Cook Sweet Potatoes. I also have another video comparing cooking methods for different vegetables here: Best Cooking Method. Sometimes, though, we want to leach stuff out of food. See How to Cook Rice to Lower Arsenic Levels.

The lutein videos I showed are Prevent Glaucoma and See 27 Miles Farther and Do Lutein Supplements Help with Brain Function?

But wait, Are Microwaves Safe? Check out that video and the follow-up The Effects of Radiation Leaking from Microwave Ovens.

Interested in my cookbook? More about it at How Not to Die Cookbook.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

150 responses to “Best Way to Cook Vegetables

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      1. The problem is that the vegetable’s flavinoids leach out into the cooking water. One way around this is to put half an inch of water in the cooker, but put the veggies in a separate container instead of in the pot. Bring up to pressure for a few seconds or minutes (depending on how well you want the veggies cooked,) then run the lid under cold water until the pressure is gone to stop the cooking.

        Yum Yum Yum!

    1. Ishay, I remembered that, too! So often these kind of studies are conflicting. Works for me, either way. I love bell peppers raw and cooked and will continue to eat them both ways regardless.

      1. Remember that peppers are part of the nightshade family which, in an allergic reaction to nightshades, is implicated in arthritis.

  1. I forget where it was mentioned but years ago I learned about the negative effects of boiling veg. The commenter said we eat the fiber and the nutritious water goes down the drain. We have the most healthy drains in the world!!!
    If I boil veg I use the least amount of water (better yet, veg stock) and then use the water(stock) to make a sauce and drizzle over the veg..
    Never miss an opportunity to add flavor and nutrition…
    m

    1. I don’t know who your commenter was, but he or she was way off base. Fiber is not water soluble; it does not go down the drain, it stays with the vegetable. The only drain it goes down is after it goes out your other end.

      1. It reads “we eat the fiber” but then the nutritious water goes down the drain. I don’t think it was meant that the fiber goes down the drain.

        1. SpareChaos, You are correct; my bad. I misread that. Sorry.

          But it is also true that not all the veggie nutrients leach into the water: Some are not water soluble, and of those that are, a lot are sequestered within plant cells, associated with proteins, etc. But those nutrients that do leach into the water are discarded — if the water is discarded. I prefer steaming, since it uses less water and energy, and I think results in better taste and texture, and I can reuse the left-over water to cook beans, grains, soups, stews, etc.

          1. Snopes is not infallible. I remember when snopes said farmers don’t use Roundup on wheat to desicate before harvest because it wouldn’t make economic sense. Now I learned that they use it on other grains and beans too. Another reason to go organic.

  2. Does steaming broccoli in a microwave steamer count as steaming, or as microwaving?

    I love broccoli and eat it every day.

    I’m not really worried about nutrient loss, since I eat so much of it, but I was just curious :)..

    1. Minnie, I’m with you. My diet is built of so many greens, etc. that I don’t worry about getting less or more from cooking method, I just eat them in a variety of ways.

      Microwave steaming… good question… I would guess microwave but have no actual idea.

  3. I tend to steam veggies, then save the water to use in cooking beans, whole grains, soups, stews, etc. I also cook a lot of veggies in those same soups and veggies. Very little frying, except a dry (oil-free) sautee. Some oven roasting. And we eat some veggies raw.

    But I would guess that Dr. Greger would say, as he has in the past, that the best way to cook your veggies is whatever way will get you to eat more of them.

    1. “But I would guess that Dr. Greger would say, as he has in the past, that the best way to cook your veggies is whatever way will get you to eat more of them.”

      Indeed

  4. Hello Dr. Gregor,

    What a fantastic job you are doing in letting people know, in extraordinary detailed information, how to get, stay and be healthy! Thank you.
    I have been fighting pre-diabetes for about 3-4 years. I started with dr. Rosedale’s diet and supplements, went on to intermittent fasting and now I have my new “Bibles: your 2 books, blogs and videos”. I went from 6.5 A1c to daily 4.0-5.5 readings on the Free style Libre. I am cooking your delicious recipes (I am not eating meat, eggs or dairy either) and my family is trying them too.
    I have one problem though: it seems that my belly is growing (I am 5.5 and weigh 60 kg. – I have been at 55 kg before, for about a year and I would like to get back there again). I know belly fat is a big problem for insulin resistance which seems to be my case. I exercice every morning and evening about 1 h/day: treadmill and weights for now.
    Please help me understand what could be the causes for this phenomenon of growing belly: I am 64 y young and my tubes are tied, so, NO, I am not pregnant. I have 2 biological children ( both through C-section) and 3 adopted ones- we have done our part here. I am a teacher who loves her job and enjoys it everyday.
    I will patiently wait for your reply.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the wonderful things you are doing for humanity.

    Best regards,

    Julia

    1. Julia, Nutrition Facts can be searched for hundreds of topics. Here is the section on weight loss
      https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/weight-loss/ You will see a summary there, and many videos following with Dr Greger talking about specific foods, herbs, tips etc.

      I am about the same size as you, but I exercise more. I find I have to pass up the nuts, nut butters (including tahini), avocados (except for rare tastes), pasta and heavier starchy foods. Around 1400 cal keeps me at 52 kg…. just food for thought.

    2. Julia,

      I have the same problem as you do. I’m 68, and although my weight gradually dropped about another 5 lbs after I started eating Plant Based Whole Foods (before that, I was a vegetarian, and already at a healthy weight), my waist disappeared (it started a few years ago. And I recently threw out all my old belts; it’s amazing what a difference a few inches makes.)

      I have a theory: As we shrink (I think I’ve lost about 2″, I’m now down to about 5’3″ from 5’5″), our internal organs have nowhere to go but out! It might even be worse for women who’ve had children (I had one), since our abdomens have already stretched out before. Imagine my surprise when I came across a scientific reference that actually said something similar! I didn’t save it, but if I find it again, I’ll share the link with you.

      You seem to be doing everything right; it might take some time to lose the weight. My experience has also been that the closer I get to my ideal weight, the slower my weight loss is. So, be patient; you will probably be pleasantly surprised.

      I wish you good health. Oh, and I love teachers! They are among my favorite people. And do an incredibly important job.

    3. Julia,

      Intermittent fasting can cause insulin resistance.

      Be careful with it. Dr. Longo recommends 12 to 13 hours between the last food at night and the first food in the morning, but not more than that.

      1. Here is a link to one part of the debate and I must add that it is one of those topics, which is being debated, and some researchers say that it decreases insulin resistance and some say that it increases abdominal fat, insulin resistance and injures the Pancreas. Plus, in animal models, it wrecked the Circadian rhythms and that also caused an increase in abdominal fat. Plus, it just did cause an increase in free radicals and I think they said visceral fat.

        https://newatlas.com/intermittent-fasting-causes-diabetes-debate/54685/

        Anyway, I point to that first because you mentioned it. It is so frustrating because we hear all of these exciting things about it and then we hear the opposite.

        THAT is the current scientific culture about EVERYTHING. KNOW THAT as you do this walk.

        EVERY topic is like that. It will save your life this week and kill you next week. Save you. Kill you. SAVE you. KILL you. SAVEKILLSAVEKILLSAVEKILL,

        Or just drive you crazy.

        Drive you crazy on purpose it seems, but you will get used to the fact that everything is like that and you will look things up from both sides and get mad when you figure out that you did intermittent fasting to lower your insulin resistance and it harmed your pancreas and also your circadean rhythms and also increased your abdominal fat stores. Or is it that you are supposed to do more of it? Or did you do it wrong?

        I wish it wasn’t like this, but it is.

        1. If I was doing a political cartoon of it, I might do Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum with Dee saying,

          It is good for you.

          And Dum saying.

          It is bad for you.

          Back to Dee

          It is so good for you that it will save your life.

          And Dum saying

          It is so bad for you that it will kill you.

          Alice’s adventure in diet and health care

    4. Also consider the timing of exercise. There was an exercise physiologist on here that posted that if you exercise even mildly right after a meal your body will use the insulin more efficiently and not put it toward fat. Some women in Japan experimented with this and seemed to prove it to themselves. You could try it see if it makes any difference. It was important not to wait around and exercise, go right when you’re done eating and for a half hour, like a nice walk.

    5. Is it possible you are just noticing your stomach being full of food? It’s normal to have a stomach that sticks out by the end of the day eating a healthy high-fiber diet! Or if you have some bloating from the change that will probably go away in a few months. Also, after menopause women’s fat stores tend to redistribute away from the lower body and toward the stomach, unfortunately. Not much you can do about it, and losing too much weight is bad for longevity for those 65 and over.

    6. Hi I’m a health support volunteer. Thanks for your great question and congratulations on all your progress. That is truly admirable. One fascinating thing about type 2 diabetes, at least to a health nerd like me, is that often patients who have been steadily gaining weight, once they develop type 2 diabetes, their weight gain stops. Some say it is nature’s way of preventing further weight loss. It makes sense. Without the insulin sensitivity, fat cells can’t store glucose and it stays in the blood stream rather than getting stored as glycogen in muscles or fat in fat cells. If you have improved your insulin sensitivity- which is fantastic!- your body may be able to store fat easier. Or it may just simply be the struggles with weight gain that we all deal with as we age. Rest assured, your numbers are a far better indicator of your health than your belly size. If you are gaining weight, I would just try to cut back some calories. A small amount a day can make a big difference. See if there is any calorie dense foods you can replace with less calorie dense food. Look for where extra calories may have snuck in. Here are a few videos you may like
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/do-chia-seeds-help-with-belly-fat/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-weight-loss-program-that-got-better-with-time/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/2013/11/26/best-nutrition-bang-for-your-buck/

      Keep up the great work!
      NurseKelly

  5. I seem to recall that in one study microwaving performed less effectively because the vegetable was microwaved in water for a considerable time. I’m wondering just how these vegetables were microwaved and for how long.

    1. That is something to take into account.

      It is a clue, perhaps.

      Microwaving in water might be boiling and a steamer might be steaming.

  6. I love this type of video! This is one I will watch over and over again!

    I bought a “pots-within-a-pot-cook-2-foods-at-the-same-time-and-steam-them” accessory for my Instapot.

    I am going to have to go through the video again and see whether pressure cooking and slow cooking are in there.

    Is pressure cooking steaming and the slow cooking boiling?

    I am thinking that Sous Vide should keep the antioxidants in the food.

    I am also thinking that if you are boiling and having the antioxidants go into the water, it would mean soup is better than draining boiled vegetables.

    My mind is processing too fast. I will have to start over and read the transcript next, but I find videos like this so useful.

    Some of us will be waiting for the update when the researchers test the roasted cauliflower.

    1. I am thinking that Sous Vide should keep the antioxidants in the food.
      ———————————————————————————————-
      I’m guessing whomever came up with this method of cooking probably associates brain plasticity with plastics.

          1. I have a pot, which has that setting, and I was going to use it when my dog stopped eating Vegan, but I went with water fasting and I didn’t have to try anything else.

    1. Hi Rebecca-

      Starting in 1985, there have been periodic survey’s of medical schools’ nutrition curricula. The latest of these was in 2010. Since then, there have been other studies, surveys of med schools, and questionnaires for students on basic nutrition knowledge. Overall, nutrition education in med school is profoundly inadequate. Individual examples of early change in this area are at Tulane, which houses the first test kitchen at a US medical school; Harvard, whose Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health provides nutrition curriculum through cooking; and Yale, where Dr David Katz runs a prevention program.

      For now, most of us seek evidence-based nutrition education on our own. Organizations we use are: The Plantrician Project, which educates doctors and students in the science backing the use of plant-based diets for preventing and treating chronic disease; The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, who provide many resources, including clinical rotations at the Barnard Clinic in DC and The Nutrition Guide for Clinicians; and the T Colin Campbell nutrition certificate course through eCornell. At the post graduate level, Board Certification in Lifestyle Medicine is a new route for training in the data and counseling mechanisms for nutrition, sleep, alcohol, stress, and exercise. A dual degree MD/MPH in public nutrition is an option as well via Loma Linda.

      Keep looking for updates in this information using the above resources, and plan to seek out high quality nutrition education individually. Best luck!!

      Dr Maria Anderson, Health Support Volunteer

  7. Julia McCold:

    I have the same problem regarding my belly size (growing). I thought it was that on my new(ish) vegan diet that I was over-eating, but I have a friend who claims that “wheat belly” (same name as a good book) is my problem. Any information regarding wheat? Anyone

    1. Terry,

      Before you narrow to wheat, are you no oil?

      I say it because Plant-Based did test as best for abdominal girth, so it won’t be the vegan part.

      So making sure you aren’t using meat, eggs, dairy, soda and oils would be where I would start.

      Here is what Dr. Greger wrote in a blog:

      “Abdominal girth appears directly related to meat consumption: one-third of a centimeter increase in waist circumference for every ten grams of meat consumed. That means for every daily burger, we may be adding an inch onto our waist and loosening our belt one notch. It’s not just about cutting back on meat, dairy, and eggs, though. The diets of hundreds of identical twins were analyzed in a study. The subjects had the same exact genes, but those eating more plant-based diets appeared to have more favorable levels of a hormone secreted by human fat cells that helps control weight.”

      If you already are doing all of those, adding in ground chia seeds and apple cider vinegar might help.

      There were double-blind placebo-controlled studies where WHOLE grain wheat bread HELPED abdominal fat. Whole grain = good. Refined = bad and that could be tricky.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29671172

      The exception would be if you have Celiac Disease, wheat sensitivity or a leaky gut.

    2. There is a problem with labeling, which is caused because white flour is made from wheat, and things made even from other things like rye often have wheat in it for structure, so finding out whether a product is whole-grain or not can be so tricky.

      Food labels must list ingredients in order, by law, so, if “wheat flour” or “enriched wheat flour” is the first ingredient, the product is mostly white flour. A 100-percent whole-grain bread will always list a whole-grain ingredient first on the label.

      So look for the first ingredient and it should say something like: brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, cracked wheat, millet, oatmeal, quinoa, rolled oats, whole-grain barley, whole-grain corn, whole-grain sorghum, whole-grain triticale, whole oats, whole rye, whole wheat or wild rice.

      1. If you are afraid of wheat, it wouldn’t be difficult nowadays to switch from that to any other whole-grain bread or Ezekiel Bread, which is not made from flour and can be found in the freezer section.

        There are plenty of kinds of pasta made from things like lentils or rice or chickpeas, plus, there are Shirataki noodles, which you can find in the refrigerator section of places like Whole Foods. Warning, Shirataki noodles smell, and they need to be rinsed off, but then, the smell goes away when you put the sauce on it and it is so close to white pasta that I love it. It is 30 calories for the whole bag and it is very filling. I had liked the lentil pasta, but once I tried the Shirataki noodles, they were so close to white pasta that I end up eating them often. I also eat black rice noodles, which are fine, but if you are new to Vegan, and if you haven’t switched off of white pasta, that is a good switch. Just pour it into a strainer in the sink and rinse well and don’t inhale until after you put it in your sauce. I have bought (and made) Zoodles, but I could never seem to cook them long enough to get the right texture. Though, I think the texture of turnip zoodles recently made me happy.

        1. I buy Pasta Zero Fettuccini because I like the thickness of it and mostly, it is what I tried first and I loved it.

          Again, it is 30 calories for the whole package, so make it thick.

          The black rice noodles are very thin, the Pasta Zero Fettuccini is very thick, so I just stick with it that way, rather than having to make decisions, which are difficult for me.

          1. Thrive Market has Wonder Noodles, which are cheaper per package, closer to $2 per package, but I am not organized enough to get my pasta shipped to me and Pasta Zero is just about $3 for a package at Whole Foods.

            Pretty sure that you can get Whole Food products delivered to you through Amazon Prime, and can have NutritionFacts.org get a few pennies if you use Amazonsmile.

            But again, I am not there yet. I like choosing my own produce, and I like interacting with the sweet workers at the stores and I LOVE that they still have jobs.

            1. It is the product, but they just changed it.

              I looked tonight and half of the ones in the store said new and improved and fortified with reduced iron.

              Ack!

            2. Barb,

              Miracle noodle is another brand and it has not added the iron.

              So far.

              It is such a bummer because more than one of the grocery stores around me have the Pasta Zero, but iron supplementation has been linked to cancer.

              I don’t know if this is a safer type of iron or not.

              They didn’t have to improve anything. It is the texture and neutral flavor that works. Adding anything subtracts IMHO.

              If there is a good iron fortification, please provide a link for me.

      2. Deb, you are correct: if a flour is whole grain, the label will state that: “Whole grain wheat flour.” (Or other grain flour) ” Whole wheat” flour is a reconstituted flour, from refined white flour and the bran. Wheat flour is simply white flour — since it’s made from wheat; this is the most highly refined flour, and is best avoided.

      3. brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, cracked wheat, millet, oatmeal, quinoa, rolled oats, whole-grain barley, whole-grain corn, whole-grain sorghum, whole-grain triticale, whole oats, whole rye, whole wheat or wild rice.
        ————————————————————————————————————————
        Deb, not sure if this is a separate type of whole wheat but for me anyway, Graham flour checks all my boxes (as cinnamon graham crackers.)

        1. Lonie,

          I haven’t had those in a while.

          S’mores a few years ago.

          We sometimes did snack on them in the extreme SAD diet my family did.

          Every good tasting type of snack.

          My brothers both have fire pits and do S’Mores.

          I have fire pit tables, but haven’t used them as fire pits. They came with my patio set.

          It is funny because all of the neighbors around me have them, so I smell them and see them and don’t have to clean up after them.

  8. This is a different topic. I read How Not To Die when it came out and as a result stopped my medication for an enlarged prostate (low PSA) and started eating flaxseed every day ( my urologist calls me the flaxseed guy). I didn’t notice any difference in my condition, which in my mind is a good thing, since there are no adverse side effects from flaxseed. Three or so years later I am noticing an increase in the number of times I have to urinate at night. I’m wondering if there is any additional plant based food(s) that helps enlarged prostates or nocturnal urination frequency? Has this been, or is it possible to cover this topic in a video or blog?
    Thanks

    1. Pumpkin seeds and beta-sitosterol have both been reported to help with symptoms. With regard to beta sitosterol, the amount used in some studies was small, only 91 mg as I recall taken on an empty stomach. Consumerlab reviews studies under prostate formulas. Many others have supposedly been beneficial but the two I mentioned seemed to have reasonable support as I recall (I take them but cannot say for sure how much they help; at least I am no worse than a year ago).

      1. Reasonable support and very good safety profiles. The same cannot be said for many of the other supplements.

    2. Hi Chuck….here an Argentinean Doc….
      At 63 I reversed an hugely enlarged prostate. BPH is completely reversible. There are many studies confirming that.
      ….I’ll be happy to provide more details and info. …on top of all excellent clips by Dr. Greger. Check BPH, prostate, …and so on…
      A great step is to eliminate bread, refined sugar and flours, and increase….all fruits (particularly citrus tomatoes, …and so on) …of course high amounts of greens & cruciferous ….ja,ja…What a surprise!!. All the best.
      Argentinean leaving the third best “youth” at 65.

  9. Regarding broccoli,what if one mainly uses the frozen ones (I’m guessing they are all blanched) will steaming vs microwaving have any significant effect? “Fresh” broccoli is more expensive & tends to be more than a few days old by the time it reaches some supermarkets in countries that don’t have warm winter weather.. so I guess the nutrient content might also be different after being shipped.

    1. Porridge,

      Dr Geeger has videos on how to cook broccoli and with that,he has tricks like adding mustard or even a little bit of fresh broccoli or other greens.

      Watch the videos.

    1. Andrew,

      The air fryer was considered frying, related to the amount of heat, so I would say that it would still count as frying, but you might be able to turn the heat down.

      1. Deb, the information I’ve read about air fryers indicates that the air fryers still use oil, but less than deep oil fryers do. Do you know of any that only use air, without oil?

        1. Air fryers are mostly just convection cookers.

          People can put oil on their foods to increase the crunch, but they are advertised as little to no oil depending on preference.

  10. What about pressure cooking? I could see where it would be similar to sous vide in that the nutrients are locked in (sealed pot vs vacuum-sealed, food-grade bag). However, sous vide cooks vegetables at a lower temperature than a pressure cooker (SV: 82-85° C vs PC: 121° C) while a pressure cooker cooks them for a shorter period of time (PC: 1-11 min (most are within 1-5 minutes but some may take up to 25 min) vs SV: 10-120 min (approximate guide: green:10 min, squash: 1 hour, root vegetables: 2 hours). Also, unless the veggies are part of a soup or stew, they’re steamed inside the pressure cooker so you’d need to incorporate that ½-2 cups of nutrient-filled water into your meal. That isn’t an issue for sous vide.

    Does anyone know where pressure cooking falls compared to the other cooking methods? I’m most interested in how it compares to sous vide.

    1. Rebecca,

      Sous vide none of the nutrients would go into the water.

      Pressure cooking, it would depend on whether you are using a steaming basket or whether the water becomes part of the dish or whether you are getting rid of the water at the end.

      I have one pot, which does pressure cooking, slow cooking and sous vide, so I am doing the same mental gymnastics you are doing, but my take on it would be that I have a pots within a pot, which is definitely steaming and I also make dishes, where the water slowly cooks down, but beomes part of the dish, and I also have boiled in the instapot and that would be boiling.

  11. What happened to the Transcripts?. I don’t seem to see them anymore when in the past most of the videos seemed to have a transcript listed, beside the Source, Acknowledgements, and Topics.

    1. quickdraw, I see transcripts there, right above ‘Sources’ as always. Not sure why your computer dorsnt show them… maybe ask the NF support team?

      1. Barb, I just discovered why Transcripts was not showing for me… I extend my browser to only half of my screen width and that, for some reason, results in the Transcripts disappearing, but not the the Source, Acknowledgements, and Topics links,. Expanding the browser a bit more than half or to full screen and Transcripts readily shows!

  12. Thanks for the video !
    I have an question not related to this topic. So lately I include more carotenoids rich food in my whole food vegan diet, my goal is to get that glowy skin Dr greger mentions in older videos and to just fill up my body of health carotenoids. I eat 1 time per day a big meal full of carotenoids such as mashed sweet potatoes with some green leafy veggies, carrot juice as a drink and 2 ounces of nuts (to increase carotenoids absorption with the fat).
    But I wondered, is there a limit of carotenoids the body absorb in a single meals, would it be more efficient for me to take the same amount of carotenoids but spread on my 3 meals through the day ?
    I saw on the wiki page that carotenoid absorption reduced when blood levels are high but even there I don’t know how much time our blood can be full of carotenoids before it start being empty.
    Voila! If anyone as any relevant pieces of informations or link, let me know.

  13. Something not mentioned is the degree to which something is cooked. How LONG is it steamed, boiled, microwaved, or stir-fried for. I very lightly and quickly stir-fry my vegetables, leaving them much closer to raw than one would get by steaming. So I’d say there are some controls missing from the information gathered.

    1. I asked the same question above and still have not gotten an answer. How long you need to steam to get the extra lutein from broccoli seems a very important point missing. Steam too little and probably no impact. Steam too long and it’s not much different than boiling. I currently steam for 3-4 minutes, because beyond that it gets mushy.

    2. Hi InciteHealingCenter,

      I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thank you so much for your question.

      I agree with you that cooking time should also be studied during some of these studies. Perhaps they should cook each food at a level that is undercooked, overcooked, and cooked “perfectly” (somewhere in the middle). That would give us a range of nutrient retention based on the cooking time AND cooking style. I did see that the cauliflower study looked at stir-frying for 4 min and 30 seconds. I found another study on mushrooms (not the one in this video) in which mushrooms were stir-fried for 3 minutes, and were lower in total antioxidant content than most other cooking methods. Most others didn’t look at stir-frying or I could not get access to them.

      However, stir-frying, in addition to being done at a very high level of heat which can damage very heat-sensitive nutrients and phytochemicals, also introduces a coating of oil over the surface of each piece of vegetable/food being fried. This significantly dilutes the nutrient-density of the vegetables that are being consumed, and therefore, is less preferable to cooking methods that do not use oil.

      I hope this helps, although I don’t necessarily have a specific answer for you.

  14. …and if you must deep fry (sometimes I give in to cauli wings) battering makes the encased veg more or less steamed.

    1. Hi I’m a health support volunteer. I don’t think there is any special tool you need. You just need some heat to destroy the low level toxin. My understanding is it is very quickly destroyed with just a little cooking.
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/toxins-in-raw-mushrooms/
      I just like to spray them with some apple cider vinegar and microwave them in a glass bowl for a for a few minutes. Then I keep them in the refrigerator and put them on my salads.

      NurseKelly

  15. Even edible mushrooms contain compounds that are toxic to humans, and the only way to remove them is to boil them thoroughly.

    1. But they’ve never actually been studied in humans, correct? Petri-dish so far, from my understanding. If they need volunteers to eat a bunch of raw mushrooms, I’m available.

        1. Yes, I’m familiar with the video, but it’s my understanding this is not based off of understanding how raw mushrooms act in the human body upon ingestion, they just know it’s there.

  16. There is a big difference between the speed Dr. Greger speaks on new videos compared to those from years ago. What’s the hurry? We want and need to hear every word you say, read the highlighted text, and retain the information for selecting and preparing foods at home. Cooking vegetables is an important topic. We all want to cook them the best way to gain the most nutrients.

    1. Jenis,
      I’ve also noticed Dr Greger’s speaking speed has increased significantly over the years. But I much prefer his current speed.

      But if you want to slow it down, just use Youtube’s speed settings which you can access via the little gear icon on the lower right. There are settings for .25, .5, and .75 of normal. I often go the other way and choose to increase the speed. And then I simply hit the space bar or click on the video to pause it. And clicking your keyboard’s left arrow key backs up the video 5 seconds when I want a section repeated. Though you’ll first need to close/dismiss the “more videos” bar that pops up when you first click the space bar.

    2. I kind of like the more fast-paced videos. Some of his very earliest videos were too slow for me. I think in interviews he’s talked really fast (probably trying to squeeze as much info in as possible) and I’m still not sure if I heard him say he highly recommends people eat citrus seeds or not… lol, I replayed it several times and couldn’t catch it.

    3. Does Dr. Greger eat vegan? I would like to hear what works for him, how his practice has changed-not so much what he’s read about and reports. I think % of raw vs cooked, and % fruit vs veggies is important. Nobody talks about this.

      1. Laurence, Dr. Greger does eat plant based, I don’t know if he’s vegan or not but he does eat how he recommends others to eat, so the best insight into how he eats is to check out his daily dozen recommendations which he’s explained before is the minimal, no need to limit beans to 1 and a half cups a day, for example.
        He also has videos on raw foods and cooked foods on this website and recommends eating both and there is also a lot of great information on fruit in his book and throughout his website. Here is one on fruit you might find helpful: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-much-fruit-is-too-much/

  17. Great video. I have lightly steamed my veggies ever since going plant-based back in 1978. However, for tougher green leafies, like kale and collards, I much prefer the results using the Instant Pot with a steamer basket inside. I get two of them going at the same time to make big batches for the week. Two minutes and you’ve got perfectly steamed results. However, is there any data regarding nutrient losses in the Instant Pot compared to regular steaming? I wonder if the higher Instant Pot temps (due to increased pressure) are offset by the dramatically shorter cooking times.

    1. I’ve read that the nutritional content of leftovers is vastly degraded. As well, veggies start losing nutrients the instant they are cut.

      1. There is a lot of paranoid stuff on the internet that makes it sound like we should all be deficient in just about every nutrient because “THEYDEGREADETHEMOMENTTHEY’REPICKEDINAMATTEROFSECONDSANDIT’SALLRUINED!” Make sure what you’re reading is evidence based. Squash (according to whfoods.com which goes only on research) was shown to increase in antioxidant content after being stored for a few months.

    2. I have read vegetables start losing nutritional value once they’re cut. More when they’re cooked. And more still when the cooked vegetables are stored. Kale is healthy as long as you’re eating healthy kale.

      I am speaking to myself here as well. About changing my habits. To cooking only what I can eat at a sitting. Better to give away leftovers. And not prepping in advance.

    1. Dr. Greger advises against eating raw mushrooms due to the reason Lea G explained, but I just want to point out that, to my knowledge, it hasn’t been shown if they react badly in the human body, they just know that the toxin is in them. Personally, I’m not convinced by the research so that’s been my takeaway, though I don’t eat mountains of raw mushrooms, either.

  18. I wish pressure cooking (i.e., Instant Pot) had been discussed. I cook my potatoes, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, green beans, etc. in my pressure cooker, and they always turn out great. Some only need to cook 5 min. or less and they turn out nice and al dente…not overcooked. Any research on this method of cooking veggies?

    1. Same here! I do collards and Kale for only 2 minutes in the Instant Pot and they come out perfect every time in a way that I have not been able to achieve with just plain steaming. The IP @ 2 minutes does them perfectly al dente but easy to chew and not too tough or chewy in any way.

  19. Way off topic but question for anyone who can answer… Does anyone know the antioxidant content of white mulberries? I love the taste of them dried and I’m considering buying but not sure if they’re a white grape type of a deal as far as antioxidant content goes, in which case, I’d prefer to spend money on something else.

  20. LOL at the intro to this video. And I am thoroughly disgusted about the sugar-frying. Laughter and disgust aside, I was surprised they didn’t show steaming mushrooms. I generally steam or water sauté mushrooms, but also baked mushrooms are really good… I recently tried roasted shiitake mushrooms.
    And what about sautéing with a little bit of oil on an electric temperature controlled pan? I kind of wish temperature ranges were mentioned instead of just method of cooking, I don’t know hot pans get, etc.
    Lastly, I wish they’d have considered water sautéing. I love making “stir fry” but really, the veggies are all just water sautéed at medium temperatures and I just cook them until they’re soft.. they’re basically just steamed.

  21. I’d like to know more about using soaking to reduce oxalates in grains and pulses. A PubMed search gives me this relevant article. Could someone look into this a bit further? The link is here. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2018.02.056. Also I’d like to ask whether there are any foods that can up regulate processes relevant to people eating a plant exclusive diet. Perhaps by affecting the epigenome for processes like carnitine production, long chain omega 3 production and mineral absorption.

  22. Some methods not discussed: 1) Using waterless cookware 2) Steaming vegetable whole, and unpeeled (vs. peeling and cutting) For sure, the taste is superior this way. Try steaming a whole zucchini, carrot or potato under fork tender. Peel afterwards. 3) Quick stir fry, then steam in the wok.

    I would appreciate scientific analysis-not whether you do it or not.

    Thanks

    1. Anything with the skin removed is going to have less nutrition because you’re scrapping all the nutrients in the skin and so often, the most antioxidants and other nutrients are most abundant in the skin. According to cronometer, peeled potatoes cuts the potassium by about half.

  23. I think there are two issues regarding nutrient loss:

    1) Nutrients lost by dilution into the cooking water. The consensus seems to be that consuming this water retains most of these nutrients.

    2) Nutrients lost by denaturing due to high heat, including the Maillard reaction. These nutrients are truly lost. Frying is obviously the worst culprit.

    I wish that Dr. Greger (please note name spelling, people!!) had clearly stated whether the cooking water was included in the calculations for nutrients preserved by each cooking method. If I blanch my greens by adding them last to the dish, is that different from dipping them in boiling water and throwing the water away? I suspect that many of the differences between water cooking methods (steam, boil, and microwaving) would disappear if the water were retained in each case. (And yes, microwaving is a water method! Microwaves vibrate the water molecules in the food, heating them to cooking temperatures.)

  24. I’ve always wondered about how many antioxidants we retain based on our general diet. For example, if someone eat a kale salad with walnuts vs someone eating a kale salad with salmon, similar to smoking, might a substantial amount of those antioxidants be used to up to neutralize some of the harmful effects of the salmon? I would imagine so. Here’s the video which shows how much is used up when smoking: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/smoking-versus-kale-juice/

  25. I encourage you to check out the Saladmaster way of cooking vegetables, totally without water and on lower heat than usual thanks to the semi vacuum and even heat distribution Saladmaster offers.

  26. I am enjoying your “How Not To Die Cookbook.” Do you have suggestions for vinegar and lemon replacements in your recipes for those of us on a health related, mild diet?

  27. Being a northern climate resident, I often cannot get (or afford) fresh veggies so go with lots of frozen, but I am concerned I am missing the nutrition boost.
    Comment?

    1. Not to worry. Dr. G has covered this (see link below). There is minimal loss of nutrient value with freezing, and some cases you might even be better off since frozen fruits and veggies are frozen at their peak of ripeness, where as fresh fruits and veggies are not, due to the lag in reaching the market, so they are often over or under ripe.

      https://nutritionfacts.org/questions/fresh-fruit-versus-frozen-fruit-which-is-better/

      Dr. Ben

  28. NutritionFacts.org is my homepage. The work of Dr. G and the volunteers are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks to the provided reference, I was able to follow up on the methodology used to prepare the mushrooms (Effect of different cooking methods on nutritional value and antioxidant activity of cultivated mushrooms. — doi: 10.1080/09637486.2016.1244662. Epub 2016 Oct 20) in the research paper. The boiled mushrooms were cooked in copious amounts of water and the fried mushrooms were cooked in copious amounts of oil – more than any cook would normally use. Then the mushrooms were drained on paper to get rid of all water or oil – throwing away all the nutrients with the liquids. I would like to see the boiling and frying tests redone with normal amounts of liquids and then sampling the nutritional values of both the mushrooms and the liquids (pot liquor) which most cooks keep for flavor and nutrition.

  29. How about cooking veggies in soups and stews? There’s no place for the nutrients to go — but into the soup or stew broth. Plus, I love my electric pressure cooker (I have an Instant Pot), and I wonder at the nutrient profiles of my ingredients before and after cooking. But it hardly matters, since with my IP I am cooking and eating so many more beans and whole grains, as well as veggies. mmmm, good; seconds, please?

  30. Hi, is there any scientific proof that it is not healthy to heat spinach after it is already prepared and then put in refigirator for a, lets say, several hurs? The same question for mushrooms. Thanks in advance.

    1. Thankfully, no. While, as you saw from this video, some cooking methods can maintain the many healthful compounds in plant foods better than others, it’s not at all unhealthy to reheat food, including spinach or mushrooms. And in such healthful foods, lowering nutrient content still leaves the food with many healthful substances. Of course, you don’t want to use a cooking method that is intrinsically unhealthy, such as sautéing in fat or deep frying.

  31. Hi, I am not sure if clay pot cooking (“Römertopf” here in Germany) is just one more type of steaming, but maybe you should give it a try. It is the by far easiest way to prepare the most delicious vegetable dishes: Just soak the clay pot in water to get some humidity in its walls, then put your vegetables in there, with or without spices, lid on top, and put it in the oven. The food gets cooked mainly in its own liquid and tastes amazing. Zero fat and zero salt needed.

  32. I heard that little particles in RAW spinach (and maybe other RAW greenies or veggies) are potentialy harmful to bladder or urinary tract as asbestos is harmful to lungs. Is that truth? Is there any data about this? Thanks.

  33. Thankfully, there’s no evidence that raw spinach or vegetables cause this kind of harm. Usually, I can find the grain of truth in any claim, but I’m stumped to even find what this could have been based on. The closest guess I have is that, in people with an irritable bladder, some foods (especially caffeine, vinegars, and alcohol, but others as well) can cause more irritation in those people. There aren’t any leafy greens that do this, though.

    Leafy greens have many phytonutrients and are a very important part of the daily diet.

  34. 1. “microwaved mushrooms reached in some cases higher antioxidant activity” Mushrooms taste terrific sauteing them. Does microwaving them taste okay? Is it that much more nutritious microwaving them. While it might seem obvious, is there a best way to microwave them? How long should it take to microwave 8 oz of sliced white cap or cremini mushrooms on the high setting.

    2. I saute my greens and in garlic and ginger and water. Steaming has little flavor. How can i have maximum taste and nutrition cooking my greens and other vegetables. Or in other words what is the best way to cook vegetables and still keep them delicious. I’m okay with water sauteing , but hate to go back to steaming.

  35. A couple of f/u points. My wife and I have been plant based for 2.5 years. We eat tons of leafy greens raw and cooked, beans, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. My ophthalmologist, who I have been seeing for years, said while I don’t have macular degeneration, I do have mild cataracts. She did say one has a greater chance of macular degeneration as one gets older. To address her concern she sent me to a retina specialist who said I do have early macular degeneration. He said when and if it gets to a moderately advanced level that certain vitamins slow down the progression. I told him I was already eating lots of leafy greens, such as collards. regular kale, lacinato kale, broccoli rabe, orange peppers, giving me plenty of Lutein and zeazanthin and tons of antioxidants. . I told him there is no way vitamin pills are going to beat the value of nutrient dense greens and other vegetables. This was a smart man. He has degrees from Harvard and other top schools. But he knew nothing about the value of nutrition to prevent or cure medical issues. Nevertheless, I started thinking maybe I am not getting maximum benefits by water sauteing my vegetables. I do drink the remaining liquid ensuring any nutrients that get dissolved by cooking are ingested anyway.

    Another point, my wife had breast cancer 5 years ago that was T1, node negative, estrogen positive hertu negative. Her DX oncotype score was 4 which is protective, and she does not have the Braca gene.. She has taken an aromatase inhibitor for 5 years and they have not found any recurrences. The problem is that half of all recurrences happen after 5 years. They are now telling her to stop the arimidex. She might take evista for another two years to help build up the bone that was depleted by the arimidex and to lesson the effect of any estrogen produced. However, in How Not to Die, Dr Gregor says to reduce chances of breast cancer and recurrences that eating cooked mushrooms, drinking green tea, eating collards and carrots, and apples would provide a lot of protection. But once again not sure we are cooking our leafy greens to achieve the maximum nutritional protection. I try to get her to include ground flax with her steel cut oats in the morning., but Sloan Kettering still advises its patients to avoid the phytoestroggens in flax. She is allowed a little soy. I have an enlarged prostate and I certainly wish to avoid prostate cancer. So yes we are on a whole food plant based, nutrient dense, almost no oil diet. But perhaps there is something more we can do to increase that nutrient density to ensure we continue to stay in good health.

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