Roasting vegetables is almost like magic, transforming uninspiring Brussels sprouts and parsnips into crispy, succulent, swoon-worthy morsels. But does roasting vegetables, which typically involves a coating of oil and high temperatures, rob them of their nutritional merits?
According to the New York Times, the answer is mostly no, but with one caveat. While some water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and certain B-vitamins are lowered, others, like fiber, will still be present. Roasting may even make some nutrients, like lycopene in tomatoes, easier for your body to absorb. So, if roasting gets you to you eat more vegetables, roast on!
Leave Room for Improvement
At the same time, there are certain things you can do to improve the health benefits of roasted vegetables.
- First of all, don't overdo it on the oil, which can be high in calories and could break down to release harmful free radicals under high heat. For extra-virgin olive oil, that point (known as its "smoke point") is around 410°F. Also, salt the vegetables after they've been cooked - this can raise the oil's smoke point so it doesn't break down at lower temperatures.
- Second, because nutrient loss while roasting is unavoidable, the best approach is to vary your cooking techniques. Try alternating between roasting and steaming, a method that's quick and uses indirect heat, so it's not as likely to cause nutrient loss.