Vitamin C is perhaps the most researched and best understood of all vitamins. This vitamin achieved nutritional fame when Linus Pauling received the Nobel prize for his research into the mysteries of vitamin C – and created somewhat of a stir in the nutritional community when he declared that mega-doses of vitamin C could prevent the common cold. Although this has since been disputed, many people are still obsessed with getting enough vitamin C in their diet. The best source of vitamin C is fruits and vegetables, but there’s some debate as to whether it’s best to eat them raw or cooked. Does heat destroy vitamin C?
Is Vitamin C Destroyed By Heat?
Vitamin C is the most heat fragile vitamin of all. It can be easily destroyed by temperatures above seventy degrees Farenheit ‘” which is a problem for people who don’t eat fresh fruit and enjoy their vegetables cooked. Even steaming vegetables for only a few minutes can destroy a significant amount of vitamin C. One way to get around this is to use minimal amounts of water when cooking vegetables and save the water to prepare a vitamin C rich soup to serve alongside the veggies. Cast iron pans destroy vitamin C too, so don’t use them if you want to retain the greatest amounts of vitamin C.
Exposure to Air Reduces the Amount of Vitamin C You Get
Vitamin C is not only heat sensitive, it’s also destroyed by oxygen and exposure to air. The key to preparing foods and preserving the maximal amount of vitamin C is to avoid cutting fresh fruits until you’re ready to serve them. Instead of chopping them into bite size pieces and storing them in the refrigerator, store them whole with the skin still on to shield them from the air.
Since Vitamin C is Destroyed by Heat, Should You Eat Fruits and Veggies Raw?
Fortunately, most people eat fruits raw which maximizes the amount of vitamin C they absorb. People who eat raw fruit daily can be less concerned about cooking vegetables since they’re getting enough vitamin C from raw fruit. People who don’t eat fruit regularly should eat some of their vegetables raw to ensure they’re getting adequate amounts of vitamin C.
Does Heat Destroy Vitamin C?: The Bottom Line
Vitamin C is one of the most fragile of all vitamins and can be easily destroyed by exposure to heat or air. Don’t cut fruits into pieces until you’re ready to eat them – and cook vegetables with as little water as possible. Boost amounts of vitamin C by eating more raw vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and green peppers.