A TEAM of Spanish scientists have successfully debunked the popular belief that boiling vegetables is always healthier than frying them.
In an experiment conducted at the University of Granada, cubes of peeled, raw vegetables were cooked using three traditional methods: boiling in water, frying in extra virgin olive oil and cooking with a mixture of water and oil.
The resulting samples were then tested by a process known as ‘liquid chromatography’, which measures levels of moisture and fat, as well as the antioxidant capacity of the prepared vegetables.
Vegetables contain ‘phenols’ which are a class of chemical compounds that can help those who include them in their diet to prevent a long list of chronic diseases including cancer and diabetes.
The astounding results of the University of Granada study showed that frying vegetables in extra virgin olive oil increases the phenols present and therefore, their antioxidant capacity.
Professor Cristina Samaniego Sanchez, who was involved in the experiment, confirmed that “frying is the method that produces the greatest associated increases in the phenolic fraction, which means an improvement in the cooking process although it increases the energy density by means of the absorbed oil.”
In layman´s terms, the findings mean the olive oil-fried vegetables have greater health benefits but are more fattening.
The University of Granada’s findings are good news for Spain, one of the top producers and exporters of olive oil in the world. The oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, which is long-acknowledged to promote lifelong good health.