Do Pressure Cookers Really Make Healthy Foods?

Do Pressure Cookers Really Make Healthy Foods?

The question that presents a dilemma in the minds of many people is whether pressure cookers make healthy foods. Conflicting perspectives exist about the issue. Certain individuals believe pressure cooking is related to unhealthy foods. Others believe pressure cooking leads to healthy foods. So, which perspective is true? To address this issue competently, it is important to understand common misconceptions about pressure cooking, how a pressure cooker works, and research evidence that supports or discredits the ability of pressure cookers to yield healthy foods.

Common Misconceptions About Pressure Cooking

  • Vitamin and mineral content in food is eroded through pressure cooking.
  • Harmful products (carcinogens) are created during pressure cooking because of high usage of heat.

How a Pressure Cooker Works

The best pressure cooker uses heat and steam to cook food quickly. The cooking process is directed by increased pressure as opposed to increased heat. Most people tend to think pressure cooking is time efficient due to increase heat. Since pressure cooking depends on increased pressure, a pressure cooker has the ability to cook food while maintaining relatively low heat. The low heat leads to insignificant or no loss of nutrients in pressure cooked food. Thus pressure cooked food is very healthy and has plenty of nutrients.​

Research Findings Show Pressure Cooking Is Related to Healthy Foods​

A study conducted in 1994 and published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition journal affirmed the benefits of pressure cooking. Findings from the study suggest that pressured cooked vegetables such as amaranth and spinach resulted in better preservation of their vitamin C and beta carotene content.

A study conducted in 2007 and published in Food Science journal revealed superior preservation of vitamin C (90%) when broccoli was subjected to pressure cooking.

A study documented in Food, Science and Technology journal suggested that pressure cooking emphasized the nutritional value in bananas. The final outcome of pressure cooking bananas was a boost in phenolic nutrients contained in bananas.

Research experts point out that pressure cooking starchy foods such as potatoes for as long as 20 minutes does not lead to development of carcinogenic compounds.

Major Reasons Why Pressure Cooking Yields Healthy Foods​

  • Harmful food compounds are reduced – Pressure cooking hardly produces harmful compounds such as acrylamide, phytic acid and lectins. A pressure cooker is able to reduce the manifestation of these unhealthy compounds because steam is used to cook food and keeps moist. The healthy aspect of food is assured
  • Food nutrients are retained – In contrast to other cooking methods, a pressure cooker employs minimum time in cooking food. Hence nutrients that are cannot withstand heat are not lost during pressure cooking.
  • Pressure cooking enhances food digestibility – Pressure cooking is related to increased meat tenderness. Tender meat is easily digestible. Pressure cooking also increases the digestibility of proteins found in legumes.

In winding up, pressure cooking does not completely assure healthy foods. All cooking methods lead to loss of nutrients and pressure cooking is no exception. Some nutrients are drained away. However, the benefits related to pressure cooking outweigh any evident demerits. As a matter of fact, pressure cooking retains more nutrients leading to healthy foods.

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