If you prefer to fry your vegetables rather than boiling them it may be that you are actually choosing the healthier option.
After years of being told frying is bad and you should boil your veg, some researchers from Spain have published a paper that contests this thinking.
To be fair, it has already been known for a while that steaming, for instance, is better than boiling your veg as you do not let so much of the “goodness” leak away into the water. What these researchers have done though, is to test cooking the vegetables potato, tomato, pumpkin and aubergine by deep frying, shallow frying, boiling in water and boiling in water and oil.
They found that in general cooking in water, i.e. boiling, led to a decrease in phenolics while the frying methods in general increased them. According to the authors, that is not really surprising. Boiling in water would allow some of the phenolics to leach away into the water while when cooked in oil, water is lost from the food so the phenolic content would be “concentrated” when you look at phenolic content by weight. Some olive oil would also “soak” into the surface and this would also increase the phenolic content.
Of course cooking in the oil also increased the oil content of the food. The question is, are you concerned about a bit more olive oil in your diet? Or do you welcome it? We blogged a while back about what oils are good for frying with and olive oil was seen as a healthier option than, for instance, corn or sunflower oil. The authors also say that if you do boil your veg and don’t want to lose the “goodness” that has leached out, then drink the liquid.
Just to clarify, they mean cooking veg in a soup rather than drinking the waste water after boiling something but that would also do the trick if it floats your boat.