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6 Important Nutrients That Are MOST Heat Affected When Cooking

September 4, 2023

Aside from making your meals tastier, cooking also improves digestion and increases the absorption of many nutrients. Take protein in eggs, for example. Research reveals protein in cooked eggs is 180% more digestible than that of its raw counterpart.

But it’s not all good news. Although cooking boosts digestion and increases the absorption of many important nutrients, it may also reduce the levels of specific vitamins and minerals. By that, this means you really don’t get to eat all the healthy stuff from your go-to tomato soup or vegetable broth.

To give you clarity and solutions, here are seven key nutrients that exit your pot or pressure cooker first when you cook your food.


Vitamin C


Cooking gives vitamin C an easy kill. At temperatures 85 to 90°C, particularly after ten minutes of cooking time, heat destroys almost all of the vitamin C contained in your fruits and veggies. Since humans are not able to synthesize and store vitamin C, it’s important to consume it from the food we eat. Squeeze lemon on your salad, or eat citrus fruits regularly!


Vitamin B9


Vitamin B9 or folate easily gets destroyed by heat. This vitamin degradation contributes to so many cases of folate deficiency worldwide, which in turn can lead to anaemia and heart disease. Legumes and lentils are packed with vitamin B9 but lose their content in high temperatures. Make soaked nuts and sprouts part of your daily meal plan to meet your vitamin B9  recommended daily intake.


Vitamin B1


Thiamin is a heat-sensitive B vitamin that can be partially destroyed by cooking. It can be found in a variety of foods, such as whole grains, beans, and meat. As an alternative to cooked meals with these ingredients, you may want to—again—stick to soaked nuts and sprouts.


Vitamin 6


Vitamin B6 is a nutrient that is sensitive to heat and can be lost during the cooking process. While foods like fish, chicken, and potatoes are good sources of B6, the amount that remains after cooking may be less than your body needs. Fruits like bananas, papaya, and oranges are great options to help you increase your intake. Raw walnuts are another excellent choice, providing you with this vitamin without the risk of loss that comes with cooking.


Vitamin B12


Interestingly, B12 is generally heat-stable under normal cooking. However, using a pressure cooker with its high temperatures can destroy B12. This is often overlooked by many non-vegetarians who assume that they are not at risk of B12 deficiency because they consume meat, forgetting that cooking meat also requires high temperatures, which can affect B12 content.

It’s worth highlighting that B12 is actually produced in our gut by bacteria. If you find yourself deficient in B12, improving your gut health can play a significant role in addressing this deficiency.




Cooking can lead to omega-3 fatty acid breakage, reducing its impact when consumed by the body. In fact, a study in India showed that 70%-85% of the EPA and DHA omega-3s can be destroyed in the frying process. Similarly, ghee, a clarified butter known to be rich in omega-3, loses much of its content when used in cooking. To increase our intake of omega-3, try to incorporate seeds like flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts into your diet. It’s also worth noting that roasting nuts and seeds can lead to a loss of omega-3.


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