Cooking on low flame: How effective it is and why experts believe it’s more nutritious

Recently, the close analysis of the remains of a 6.5-foot carp-like fish found by researchers at the Gesher Benot Ya’aqov (GBY) archaeological site in Israel revealed that the fish was cooked roughly 7,80,000 years ago using fire that too under a controlled temperature.
The researchers have studied the fish remains and the findings were published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.
It sheds light on the use of controlled-temperature cooking, which helps retain nutrients. With this new discovery, now the use of fire for cooking has been verified largely.

The research

This scientific discovery has been made by researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU), Tel Aviv University (TAU), and Bar-Ilan University (BIU) in collaboration with the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Oranim Academic College, the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research (IOLR) institution, the Natural History Museum in London, and the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. Until now, the earliest evidence of cooking dates back to approximately 1,70,000 years ago.

Cooking under controlled temperatures

Experts agree that the most nutrient-rich foods are cooked at controlled temperatures. If we cook in a manner so that the dish can be cooked quickly, then there will be a huge loss of nutrients during the process. It is for this reason that our ancestors believed in cooking over a slow flame so that all the nutrients are there which are easily absorbed by the body. In this age of fast-paced lives, most people adopt the quick options of cooking, due to which there is a huge loss of nutrients in our cooked food. All the foods are the same, and even the cooking style is the same but the only difference is in the processes used while cooking dishes. It has been proven several times that the way you cook food determines the number of nutrients the dish contains.

Which method loses more nutrients

Talking in general, the boiling method is said to be the least effective when it comes to cooking foods for nutrition. This method not only reduces the mineral content but vitamins and other nutrients as well. Excessive heat diminishes vitamins and phytonutrients present in fruits & vegetables. The longer they cook, and the higher the temperature, the greater the nutrient destruction. Even chopping food can begin to erode some of the nutrients. (So it’s best to eat foods soon after chopping.)

The bottom line

Thus, experts agree that the veggies should not be cooked for too long and there should be a time limit maintained for it. They should not be cooked for more than 10 minutes, as it is during this time that the veggies are able to release their juices and nutrients. Any extra minute and you will find no benefits in consuming the vegetables. It is said that light cooking of 5-10 minutes enhances the absorption of carotenoids and isothiocyanates, which are found in several green veggies.