Frying vegetables is healthier than boiling them and could even help prevent cancer, according to new research.
The study shows that potatoes and other vegetables retain more of their healthy phenolic compounds when fried in extra virgin olive oil than when boiled in water.
Published in the journal, Food Chemistry, the study showed that veggies fried in olive oil had an increased amount of the antioxidants that prevent long-term illnesses such as cancer and diabetes.
Using traditional Spanish recipes, researchers at the University of Granada cooked 120g cubes of vegetables typical to the Mediterranean diet – potato, pumpkin, tomato, and aubergine.
The vegetables were fried and sautéed in olive oil, boiled in water and boiled in a mix of water and olive oil.
The results showed that the veg cooked in olive oil saw an increase in fat content and a reduction in moisture, something not seen in other cooking methods.
“We can confirm that frying is the method that produces the greatest associated increases in the phenolic fraction,” said study co-author Professor Cristina Samaniego Sánchez.
This is because of the transfer of the healthy phenols from the oil to the vegetables, enhancing the latter with healthy with compounds that aren’t usually found in veg.
Boiling vegetables in water was found to reduce their health-boosting qualities in some cases.