Nutrition facts

How to preserve the nutritional value in your food

Nutritional value of food is the amount of energy, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals found in food. Preserving the nutritional value in food means to treat food in order to prevent it from decomposition.

Preserving the Nutritional Value in your Food

In fact, preparing and preserving your own food is a long established custom that is more like a tradition to save money, reduce waste and healthy eating.

However, even though preservation mainly increase shelf life of food , however, it does not necessarily guarantee to prevent nutritional loses, depending upon food being preserved and methods used to preserve food.

Benefits of preserving food

  • Food lasts longer
  • Assurance about ingredients used
  • Seasonal foods can be enjoyed year round.

Drawbacks of preserving food

  • Flavor or texture may alter
  • Not as healthy as fresh food
  • Food may lose some or whole of its nutritive value.

Ways to Preserve Nutritional Value in Food

1.      Hold back washing

One way of preserving nutritional value in food is refraining from washing the. Abstain from washing right away as it removes the outer layer which can lead to

  • formation of mold,
  • faster spoilage and
  • ripening.

2.      Storage

The fruits and vegetables should be refrigerated loosely and separate. If these are closer on sides and lying on top of each other they will

  • rot faster
  • prematurely ripe
  • Spoil surrounding vegetables
  • De-shape because of the pressure
  • Turn vegetables and fruits brown

Storage Do’s

  • remove ties and rubber bands
  • Store loosely

Storage Don’ts

  • Over packing
  • Packing in airtight bags as they suffocate food items and speed up decay.
  • Most vegetables like garlic, onion, potatoes etc store best in a cool, dark pantry.

3.      Support local farmers

Buying directly from local farmers saves money as shipping cost is not there. Fruits and vegetables have higher nutritional value as storage time is very minimal.

4.      Young is nutritious

Another fact to keep in mind is that over matured fruits and vegetables have lesser nutrients than the younger produce.

5.      Clever cooking

  • Sauté, steaming and  stir-frying preserves most nutrients.
  • Moreover, over cooking also destroys fragile nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, potassium etc.
  • Also, both vitamins and minerals leach out into cooking liquid while boiling and end up going down the drain. Best is to utilise that water in soups or use it for cooking.
  • Ideally speaking, fruits and vegetables should be consumed raw where possible.
  • Furthermore, avoid deep frying fat soluble foods in order to prevent their loss in oil.
  • Foods rich in B-vitamins, when boiled in water, don’t discard the water as B-vitamins leak out into cooking liquid.
  • On the other hand, Vitamin C is water soluble vitamin, so cook fruits and vegetables rich in it in least possible water.

6.      Cutting

Cutting fruits and vegetables also speeds up the nutritional loses. Furthermore, eat whole fruit along with the peels, where possible, as the highest amount of minerals and vitamins are under skin.

7.      Whole meal cereals

Whole meal varieties of cereals should be consumed as while milling their out layers are removed, because of which many nutrients are lost. For example, whole meal bread is more nutritious than white bread.

Methods To Preserve Nutritional Value In Foods By Increasing The Shelf Life

1.      Freezing
Above all, freezing is one of the most common way to preserve food. In freezing food we do compromise on taste but it is the most effective way of preserving the nutritional value in food. In fact, when the  harvested food is frozen at its earliest, it has a better nutritional value.

2.      Canning
Another way of preserving is Canning. Canning leads to a very long shelf life but with considerable vitamins loss, more specifically water-soluble vitamins are lost because food is subjected to high heat and boiling in water.

3.      Dehydration
Next method is of dehydration. This method helps to preserve food for a longer period of time and also retains a considerable amount of nutritive value.

4.      Pasteurization
Finally, the last method that we will discuss in preserving food is pasteurization. In pasteurization liquid foods like milk and fruit juices are subjected to high temperatures to make them micro-organism free. In fact, milk’s nutritive value remains the same even after pasteurization. However, in the case of fruit, considerable amount of vitamin C is lost in its juice.

In conclusion, fresh food should always be your first choice. However, if you need to preserve, do so according to these tips. In my opinion, buy food in small amounts and buy fresh next time for a healthy lifestyle.

What do you think of these food preservation tips and methods? Let us know in the comment section below.




Yusra Kashif
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Yusra Kashif

Yusra Kashif has done masters in Food and Nutrition. She has also worked as a Dietitian in an international hospital and as a teacher in a private school. Currently she is taking a further degree in “Food and Nutrition Advisor” from U.K. She loves crafts, baking, cooking and exploring. Yusra is currently a stay at home mum and a part time writer.

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