Eating vegetables is important to good health, and knowing how to prepare them in a way that preserves their fiber content as well as the vitamins and minerals will make your meals all the more nutritious. When possible, eat veggies raw instead of cooked. And since much of the fiber in certain vegetables, such as potatoes, is in the skin, it's a good idea to leave the skin on vegetables when you can.
Factors in Fiber Loss
Certain factors can affect how much fiber is lost from vegetables through cooking. Vegetables lose fiber just from peeling alone. And, according to the "Pakistan Journal of Nutrition," vegetables that were peeled before cooking lost more nutrients during cooking than vegetables that were not.
Best Methods of Cooking
The method of cooking you use affects fiber loss in vegetables. For example, steaming or microwaving vegetables leads to less fiber loss than boiling. Some nutrients in vegetables leach out into the water when boiled, so if you must boil vegetables, use the cooking water in soups or sauces so you still get the nutrition. Whatever cooking method you use, keep cooking times as short as possible to preserve fiber and nutrients.
Best High-Fiber Vegetables
According to MayoClinic.com, men should get 38 grams of fiber daily through age 50 and 30 g per day thereafter, while women need 25 and 21 g daily, respectively. The vegetables with the highest fiber content are artichokes, at 10.3 g in one medium cooked artichoke, and peas, with 8.8 g per cooked cup. Broccoli (5.1 g per boiled cup) and turnip greens (5 g per boiled cup) also rank high on the website's list.
Importance of Fiber
Eating a high-fiber diet can have many benefits, such as keeping bowel movements regular and aiding weight loss. In addition, consuming a good deal of fiber can also lower cholesterol and control your blood sugar. A high-fiber diet also decreases the risk of developing hemorrhoids.
- MayoClinic.com; High-Fiber Foods; Nov. 17, 2009
- MayoClinic.com;. Dietary Fiber; Nov. 19, 2009
- "Pakistan Journal of Nutrition"; Effect of Peeling and Cooking on Nutrients in Vegetables; Shahnaz Alvi, et al.; 2003
- Staying Healthy; How to Cook Vegetables to Prevent Nutrient Loss; Lisa Nelson; Nov. 9, 2010