Learn how to preserve food nutrients by using extra virgin olive oilEntertainment 

Learn how to preserve food nutrients by using extra virgin olive oil

List of benefits of use extra virgin olive oil has just acquired another element in food preparation.

In addition to known health benefits, such as an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, researchers found that the ingredient rich in monounsaturated fats, bioactive compounds and vitamins; can reduce nutrient loss from food while cooking.

This is what an extensive review carried out by researchers from the University of São Paulo (USP) and the University of Barcelona in Spain finds. The study, conducted by researcher José Fernando Rinaldi de Alvarenga, a postdoctoral fellow at the USP Food Research Center, analyzed more than 90 scientific articles. The research was published in the journal Trends in Food Science & Technology.

“Before any explanation, it’s important to reject once and for all that cooking with this oil is unhealthy,” says Alvarenga, explaining that the fatty acids in extra virgin olive oil were previously thought to oxidize at higher temperatures.

“This was thought to be due to the smoke point of olive oil, which is when the oils begin to burn. [soltar fumaça] and oxidize. Although its smoke point occurs at a lower temperature than other oils, today we know that the smoke does not come from these fatty acids, but from smaller components of olive oil. In other words, it “endures” high temperatures, as well as other oils,” explains the specialist in his statement.

How are nutrients stored?

Extra virgin olive oil is dominated by unsaturated fats, which have antioxidant potential among other benefits. “Because of this action, olive oil degrades more slowly than other oils. And this protects the nutrients in both the oil and the food,” Alvarenga explains.

As an example, the researcher cites the bioactive compounds present in food, which have several beneficial properties for health.

“Extra virgin olive oil helps prevent phytochemicals from oxidizing. This makes cooked foods healthier because it preserves important ingredients that might otherwise be lost,” he explains.

“When we compare tomato stew with oil and without oil, for example, the amount of lycopene may be reduced during the cooking process without oil. [cozimento]. However, by using extra virgin olive oil, we were able to preserve this compound, which is associated with prostate cancer prevention,” he adds.

Effect of cooking methods

According to research, the degradation of bioactive compounds varies according to the method of preparation. A number of studies were analyzed regarding nutrient loss in foods baked, fried, fried, fried, or fried.

“We found that the technique that contributes to the greatest degradation is oven cooking because it involves very high temperatures and very long cooking times. Frying is a technique where food is cooked quickly over high heat, with little fat and constant stirring, creating a crust on the outside and keeping it soft on the inside,” he adds.

According to the article, degradation rates also vary depending on the bioactive compound. For water-insoluble compounds such as carotenoids and fat-soluble vitamins, boiling and steaming are the methods that best preserve these compounds. On the other hand, there is a significant loss of them during microwaving and frying.

“Techniques that use oil to prepare, such as frying and sauces, are more interesting because they are better at extracting carotenoids from foods and increasing their bioavailability. For polar compounds [solúveis em água]Like phenols, steaming seems to be the most suitable as microwaving, boiling and cooking reduce their presence in food,” he explains.

(Courtesy of USP Journal)

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