Properties of citrus fruits: What about vitamin C and other nutrients when cooking them?

The citrus fruits are foods that can not fail to take advantage to ingest variety of vitamins and minerals that benefit the health of the body and especially vitamin C for a nutrient much help to reinforce defenses and prevent colds this season. However, the way we eat them can condition their nutritional quality because it is not the same a fresh citrus that cooked. Here’s what happens to vitamin C and other nutrients when you cook them.

Properties of citrus fruits

Not only are citrus fruits an excellent source of vitamin C for the body, they are also low in calories, with high water content and also with a variety of antioxidants and other nutrients.

Thus, we remember that citrus highlights the presence of potassium, magnesium, carotenes and vitamin A, fiber, B vitamins and calcium in proportions that vary according to each example we choose and how we consume them.

In varying amounts we can also find potent antioxidants such as flavonoids in addition to vitamin C and A and selenium.

Citrus has much more than vitamin C to offer but, what happens if I put it on for cooking? Are all these nutritional properties forgotten? Here are the answers to this question.

Citrus after cooking

Many nutrients are lost after handling and / or cooking food, so we always recommend that at least one serving of fruit and one vegetable per day be consumed fresh, without any cooking and, if possible, with its skin.

However, it is not “nothing” that we have left behind the cooking processes , but much depends on the technique used for processing. Namely:

  • Heat, sunlight and the presence of oxygen easily oxidize vitamin C; Water solubilizes minerals and vitamins C and B, while fats are the medium in which carotenes and vitamin A are solubilized.
  • Cooking in water can better preserve carotenes and other fat-soluble compounds such as vitamin A but reduce the vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and B vitamins content, according to Italian scientists.
  • Frying can better preserve the vitamin B and vitamin C content of citrus fruits but will add fats and therefore calories to them in ratios of between 2 and 14 grams of lipids per 100 grams as demonstrated by a study of The International Journal of Fats and Oils .
  • The methods of cooking with water are those that most reduce the vitamin C content of foods, especially boiling as proven by Thai scientists , which also reduces the proportion of fiber of them.
  • Capping and storage in the citrus juice refrigerator for example, allows better storage of nutrients and reduces vitamin C loss to 2% per week, according to research from Aroznoa State University .

Clearly, cooking modifies the nutritional profile of citrus fruits but depending on the technique chosen for its processing and the way we manipulate each food, more or less certain nutrients can be conserved.

The best cooking techniques

If we crave the cooking of citrus foods, although it is always recommended its fresh consumption, we must know that there are measures that we can take into account.

Considering the above, it is fundamental to cut, wash and / or peel the citrus within the shortest possible time prior to consumption to avoid exposure to oxygen and sunlight that favor the loss of vitamin C.

Also, it is best to avoid cooking methods where food has direct contact with water to minimize nutrient loss, or otherwise use very little water during cooking as suggested by a study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.

Another tip when cooking and / or handling citrus fruits is to wash them before peeling and chopping, cooking whole or as large pieces as possible and avoiding long periods of storage as well as prolonged cooking that are promoting the loss of nutrients.

In short, citrus fruits do not reduce to “nothing” after cooking , but their vitamin C and other nutrients can be lost but not completely eliminated after the cooking processes applied.

Vitamin C, which is the most vulnerable in this sense, can be much more stable than we think, because it is a false myth that is quickly lost after breaking an orange or squeezing a juice.

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