You know you need to eat your vegetables, but did you know there’s a right and wrong way to do it? Preparation is key if you want to get the most out of nutrient-dense powerhouses like broccoli and tomatoes, though the answer to the question about the best or worst way to prepare your veggies isn’t as clear-cut as we might like. A particular cooking method “may enhance the availability of one nutrient while degrading another,” Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times explained. Still, if you’re looking to get more of certain nutrients, you’ll want to have at least some idea of how different cooking methods affect your food. Before you steam, stir-fry, or grill your next plate of veggies, check out this list of some of the worst ways you can prepare them.
1. Boiling cauliflower
“Water is not the cook’s best friend when it comes to preparing vegetables,” wrote the authors of a Spanish study looking at how different cooking methods affected the antioxidant activity of 20 different vegetables. Case in point: When boiled, cauliflower, which is high in antioxidants like vitamin C, lost more of its free-radical-fighting properties than almost every other vegetable. Microwaving also reduced cauliflower’s antioxidant properties.