Vegetables fried in EVOO have more beneficial properties than when boiled

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A new UGR study, published in the prestigious journal Food Chemistry, reveals that vegetables fried in extra virgin olive oil have more beneficial properties than their boiled counterparts.

The Mediterranean diet in Spain is characterized by a high intake of vegetables and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), both of which are important sources of biofunctional compounds that have been linked to the prevention of chronic degenerative diseases, not only because they contain nutritive antioxidants such as vitamins C, E, and ß-carotenes, but also because they contain important amounts of non-nutritive antioxidants such as phenolic compounds. Phenols are found in EVOO and fresh vegetables typically consumed in Spain, such as aubergine, potato, tomato, and pumpkin, all of which have distinctive qualitative and quantitative compositions of phenols.

It is often thought that when we cook raw vegetables in certain ways and using certain cooking techniques, their antioxidant properties, such as the phenolic compounds, are to some degreelost or destroyed.

In order to determine whether there was any truth to this assumption, researchers at the UGR set out to test some of the most common ways we cook vegetables that form an integral part of the Mediterranean diet.

The aim, therefore, was to putdomestic cooking techniques to the test and determine how they affect and/or enhancethe antioxidant qualities and amounts of phenolic compounds found in four fresh vegetables that are representative of the Mediterranean diet, namely; potato, pumpkin, aubergine and tomato.

Fried, boiled or mixed with water and extra virgin olive oil?

Three cooking techniques were employed: 120gm cubes of the vegetables were fried in EVOO, or boiled in water, or boiled in a mixture of water and EVOO. The experimental procedures were strictly controlled, with invariable proportions of the vegetables and the cooking mediums maintained throughout the analyses.

The vegetables were also kept in optimum conditions in order to accurately measure their moisture, fat, dry matter, and phenol contents, along with their antioxidant capacity,before and after each cooking method was employed.

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