In laboratory conditions the researchers at the University of Granada conducted an experiment, more reminiscent of the work of Delia Smith and Jamie Oliver than that of Fleming or Jenner, they used a variety of methods to cook 120g of potato, pumpkin, tomato and aubergine.
The methods employed were frying, sautéing, boiling in water and boiling in a mixture of oil and water.
The results were quite clear. Frying increased the amount of phenolic compounds in the cooked vegetables. Phenolic compounds are known to help the body avoid cancer, eyesight issues and even diabetes.
The researchers deduced that the oil was adding its own elements to the vegetables, a process that did not take place in any of the other cooking methods. Boiling, in particular, reduced the number of beneficial elements in the raw products.
Their findings indicated that extra virgin olive oil produced the best results.
The team also pointed out that it must be noted that frying in oil significantly increases the calorific value of the cooked vegetables and that this increase must be taken into account.
Other research has indicated a danger that the high temperatures in the frying process produce lipid oxides which may be a cause of cancer and heart disease.
Microwave cooking has also been recommended to counter this effect. It doesn’t add to the phenolic compounds but it prevents any loss from the vegetables’ own stock and will not produce any lipid oxides.
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