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Save Those Vitamins

October 03, 1985

Eating plenty of vegetables is good for you, but according to the California Dietetic Assn., you may get more nutrition from drinking the water they're cooked in.

"The vitamins found in most vegetables--B-1, B-2, B-6, C and folacin--are water-soluble," registered dietitian Cheryl Loggins, president of the association, said. "If cooked for a long time in large amounts of water, they're likely to lose most of these vitamins."

Potatoes are rich in Vitamin C. If boiled or baked with the skin left on, most of the Vitamin C is preserved; however, if peeled before cooking, potatoes can lose some of their Vitamin C.

Oversteamed and overboiled vegetables, such as broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or carrots, are also likely to lose most of their vitamins.

A good rule of thumb, according to Loggins, is to opt for raw or lightly cooked vegetables with a crisp, as opposed to mushy, texture. The less time vegetables spend in water, the fewer nutrients are lost.

"One way to preserve otherwise wasted vitamins is to make soup from the stock," she said. "Slice the vegetables and add spices and chunks of chicken or beef. Served with fresh bread and a glass of milk, you have a hot lunch providing servings from each of the nutrient-based food groups: milk, meat, vegetables and fruits, breads and cereals."

Vegetables and fruits represent one food group because of the important nutrients they contain. To make sure you get the best nutrition from those foods, remember that raw is best, then steamed, baked and, finally, boiled.

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