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Is Pressure Cooking Healthy ?

April 02, 2017 Daniel Tan

Hi and welcome again to another blog post from Kitchenyuppies ! I know it's been some time since the last blog but so many things are happening at the moment at around the same time, that you know, sometimes you just need to focus on one item at a time !

But rest assure, Kitchenyuppies will always be here to help people achieve healthy lives by eating and cooking more healthily ! That is the main driving force for all that we do !

So, without further ado, lets jump straight to the topic at hand, and one which we really feel passionate about, and that is, Pressure Cooking !

All of us at some point in our lives have heard of this cooking method called, yeah well, Pressure Cooking. But how does it work ? Is it healthy ? Will the thing explode ?? Relax folks.... These are some of the stuff that this article and following articles seek to cover and answer your burning questions ! But first, let's take a look at whether it really is a healthier cooking method !

 

 

Pressure cooking. What is it ?

 

A lot of us folks at home might have thought of getting a pressure cooker at some point, only to be held back by questions such as, 'Well, we would i need one? I already have my stove and frying pan and pots' ! or ' I don't know how to use one ! ' or even ' Is that device dangerous ?? '

 

Perfectly normal questions i must say. Even necessary ! But what is a pressure cooker in the first place ? Well, It is basically a pot which can be sealed tight and pressurized inside and heated, thus enabling food to be cooked at a higher temperature by raising the boiling point of water, and shortening the cooking times of your food.

 

Cooking the food at a slightly higher temperature can avoid water loss. In cooking, liquid loss equals over-cooking, drying out, or burning your food. By avoiding water loss while maintaining higher temperatures, your food cooks more quickly.

 

IS PRESSURE COOKING HEALTHY?

 

The biggest argument against pressure cooking by those who think it’s unhealthy is that pressure cooking must be bad for the nutrients in the food because you’re cooking them at higher temperatures and higher pressures.

 

It’s like saying the cooking method is dangerous, well just because its pressurized !

 

It’s like arguing that food cooked in low altitiude area (where the boiling point of water is 212F) is somehow less nutritious than food cooked in an high altitude village (where the boiling point of water is 190F) just because the air pressure and boiling point are higher.

 

Really ?

 

But did you know that in numerous studies, pressure cooking has been found to preserve the nutrients in food better than any other method?

 

According to foodrenegade (www.foodrenegade.com), pressure cooking retains C&B vitamins 90-95% better than other cooking methods !

 

In this study, pressure cooking was shown to be the best method for preserving the ascorbic acid and beta-carotene in spinach and amaranth. And in a March 2007 study published in the The Journal of Food Science pressure cooking broccoli preserved 90% of its vitamin C compared to steaming (78%) and boiling (66%).

 

 

PRESSURE COOKING PRESERVES NUTRIENTS BY REDUCING COOK TIMES.

 

It turns out that higher cooking temperatures don’t destroy any more nutrients than lower cooking temperatures. If a temperature is high enough to start destroying heat-sensitive nutrients, then those heat-sensitive nutrients will be lost regardless of whether the cooking temperature is 119F or 350F.

 

It’s not the temperature that matters, but the cooking time!

 

By cooking foods for shorter lengths of time, pressure cookers preserve the nutrients better, despite cooking at higher temperatures.

 

 

PRESSURE COOKING PRESERVES NUTRIENTS BY USING LESS WATER.

 

Why do health and nutrition experts always tell you to give preference to steaming vegetables over boiling them?

 

Because the nutrients leach out of the vegetable and into the water, and then we dump the water out when serving the veggies!

 

Pressure cooking uses VERY LITTLE water compared to many other cooking methods, essentially acting like a steam cooker where the steam is not allowed to escape easily (thereby building the air pressure). Less water comes into contact with your food to leach away vitamins and minerals.

 

And if you do as recommended and let your pressure cooker cool naturally before removing the lid so that the steam condenses back into the small amount of liquid in the pot, you can consume all the liquid with your meal and limit the loss of nutrients to water even further.

 

 

PRESSURE COOKING MAKES GRAINS AND LEGUMES MORE DIGESTIBLE BY REDUCING PHYTIC ACID AND LECTINS.

 

 

Yep, you read that right. The great enemies found in grains, seeds, and legumes are reduced far more by pressure cooking than by boiling.

 

In this study done on peas, the phytic acid content of peas soaked overnight and then boiled was only reduced by 29%. But in peas that had been soaked overnight and pressure cooked, the phytic acid was reduced by 54%!

 

Phytic acid binds minerals and other important nutrients in our digestive tract, keeping us from using them. By reducing the phytic acid content of grains and legumes, we increase their nutrient-availability and render them more digestible.

 

Pressure cooking is also on par with fermentation as the best way to reduce the lectins (yet another anti-nutrient) in grains.

 

Turns out, pressure cooking may be the best possible way to cook your soaked beans and grains !

 

 

WHAT ABOUT ACRYLAMIDES AND OTHER CARCINOGENS?

 

Yes, high-temperature cooking of some foods, like potatoes, does cause the formation of carcinogenic compounds like acrylomides. But those same compounds will not form in a pressure cooker! That’s because of all the steam trapped in the cooker. Those compounds mostly form in dry cooking methods like roasting or grilling, or in an ultra high-temperature environment like deep frying.

 

Swiss researchers wanted to test this and found that potatoes cooked at high pressure for 20 minutes had almost no acrylamide formation when compared to other high-temperature cooking methods. (And since a potato will be done after about 10 minutes at high pressure, this was definitely overkill!)

 

 

BUT, DOESN’T PRESSURE COOKING STILL DENATURE PROTEINS IN THE FOOD?

 

Yes. And so does every other cooking method out there! That is, in fact, one of the primary things that cooking is intended to do. It begins the process of breaking down the proteins in the food, making the food easier for us to digest and assimilate. “Denaturing” the proteins is what causes tough stew meat to become tender when cooked. You want denatured proteins. That’s why you cook your food.

 

In fact, pressure-cooking arguably increases the digestibility of protein, as shown in this study that found that pressure-cooking soaked peas brought their protein digestibility up to 84%, compared to 81% for those peas that were just soaked and boiled normally. (Interestingly, it drops all the way down to just 74% when the peas are unsoaked and then boiled. YAY soaking!)

 

And, it’s not just peas. Many studies have been done on how pressure-cooking increases the digestibility of proteins, including this one done with mung beans and this one done with rice. It’s even been shown to make meat more tender than boiling does (and more tender meat is demonstrably easier for our bodies to digest).

 

 

SO, IS PRESSURE COOKING HEALTHY?

 

What do you think? For me, it’s a resounding yes.

 

It may not be ideal for all things. Vegetables, for example, easily turn to mush in pressure cookers if you’re not super exact and attentive about timing.

 

But it can dramatically reduce cooking times and increase the digestibility of legumes and grains, so I’ve got no problems with that. I even found a recipe for pressure cooker risotto I’m dying to try. (I really dislike the constant stirring necessary for the “real” stuff.)

 

And, it can be an excellent choice for last-minute meals. If I miss putting my roast or roundsteak into my crockpot at mid-morning, I can easily begin pressure cooking that same meal later in the afternoon and still have a “fast” dinner on the table that didn’t require us eating out (or eating scrambled eggs!) because of my poor planning.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

So, if you are thinking of buying a pressure cooker, there is a good variety of pressure cookers on sale at www.kitchenyuppies.com. We are in the business of healthy living, healthy foods, and healthy cooking methods ! Check us out !

 

Opened in 2016, KitchenYuppies wants you to eat healthy and be happy ! We sell a variety of kitchenware that are modern and practical. Delivery is absolutely free for purchases above $50 within Singapore. International shipping fees and charges apply for cross border deliveries !

Visit www.kitchenyuppies.com or connect with us @ www.facebook.com/kitchenyuppies 

 




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