Why Steamed Meats, Fruits And Vegetables Are So Good For You

Shantha Kalia

Today more and more people are looking for healthier options of cooking food at home to avoid processed and unhealthy foods.  Steaming is one of the most popular ways of healthy cooking, which can be easily done at home.  Steamed food can be easily incorporated into a healthy diet that focuses on plenty of fresh fruits and veggies.

Less Fat, More Vitamins, Fibers and Antioxidants

With steaming, you greatly reduce your fat intake making your food low in calories, fat, and cholesterol.  Steamed food is laden with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, all of which are important to a healthy diet.  When vegetables are steamed without immersing them in excess water, the nutrient content is maintained without leaking into the water.  Veggies become softer and maintain their flavor when steamed in a vented basket or colander.  If you have a steamer, it is ideal to place the food in it, but you can also achieve the same benefits by simply placing the food in a colander over a pot that contains little water or broth.  When there is uniform heat around the food, it steams properly without being undercooked or overcooked.

Steaming vegetables is the best way to retain most of the nutrients.  When meat is steamed, it gets rid of excess fat and makes the meat low in fat.  Fish can be steamed carefully in a parcel or steamer.  Steamed food preserves the color, flavor, and nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

Other Benefits of Steaming Food

  • With steaming, food is slowly diffused with vapor and allows the food to cook in its own juices.
  • You can steam anything from meat and vegetables to fruits.
  • Steaming is versatile.  Food can be steamed in bamboo steamers or banana leaves.
  • Easy cleanup in the kitchen as no elaborate cookware is necessary for steaming.
  • No oil is used for steaming and so you get food with lower fat content.
  • Food cannot burn or overcook with steaming.
  • Cancer fighting properties of veggies is retained with steaming, which is often destroyed by overcooking.

A study conducted by researchers at the university of Illinois at Urbana found that broccoli loses its cancer-fighting properties when it is boiled or microwaved.  They found that the best way to cook broccoli is to steam it for three to four minutes.  When it is steamed and turns bright green, its cancer-fighting properties are enhanced.  An enzyme myrosinase is necessary for the cancer-fighting compound to form and when broccoli is overcooked, myrosinase is destroyed, but steaming for five minutes retains its special property.

Most firm and leafy vegetables are ideal for steaming including green beans, asparagus, okra, peppers, spinach, etc.

Sources for this article include:

  • www.thirdage.com/healthy-recipes/health-benefits-to-steaming-food
  • www.gopure.com/blog/benefits-steaming-vegetables/
  • www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2499815/How-health-benefits-veg-STEAM-Study-finds-boiled-microwaved-broccoli-cancer-fighting-properties-left.html
  • www.livestrong.com/article/314674-steamed-vegetable-diet/
About the Author: Shantha Kalia is a health care professional at a New York City hospital. She completed her masters in Public Health, and has worked in various capacities in health care for over 15 years. She is a freelancer and contributes articles to various websites on various medical and health-related topics. Her interests include health and wellness, diet and nutrition, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. To read more articles by Shantha, please visit HolisticCarePros.com.
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