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Bioavailability of Vitamins, ProVitamins, Coenzymes and Cooking
lycan Venom
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Bioavailability of Vitamins, ProVitamins, Coenzymes and Cooking - 12-05-2016, 09:37 PM

Bioavailability is the degree to which food nutrients are available for absorption and utilization in the body. Vitamins are substances needed in small amounts for normal body functions that the body cannot synthesize in adequate amounts. In many cases vitamins act as cofactors that are needed in order to allow enzymes to perform their important work of facilitating metabolism in the body. In this case the vitamins are called coenzyme vitamins. Examples of synthesized vitamins are Vitamin B1 as thiamin hydrochloride and vitamin B6 as pyridoxine hydrochloride. They require conversion in the body means both that they are not immediately available for use by the body and that metabolic energy is required for the conversion. The body cannot directly utilize synthesized vitamins, but must convert them by adding a phosphate group (usually from adenosine triphosphate, i.e., ATP) in order to become active coenzyme form vitamins. A provitamin is a substance that may be converted within the body to a vitamin. The term "previtamin" is a synonym. For example, "Provitamin B5" is a name for panthenol, which may be converted in the body to vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid). The term "provitamin" is used when it is desirable to label a substance with little or no vitamin activity, but which can be converted to an active form by normal metabolic processes.

The following provides a list of currently available “bio-identical” coenzyme vitamins:
Vitamin B1 in the form of thiamin diphosphate (or cocarboxylase)
Vitamin B2 in the form of riboflavin 5’-phosphate sometimes called flavinmononucleotide (FMN)
Vitamin B3 in the forms of forms of niacinamide (partial coenzyme), nicotinamide diphosphate (NAD), and nicotinamide diphosphate hydrate (NADH)
Vitamin B5 in the form of panthetine
Vitamin B6 in the form of pyridoxal 5’-phosphate
Folate in the forms of folinic acid (5-formyl tetrahydrofolate) and methyltetrahydro folate
Vitamin B12 in the forms of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin.

Most vitamins are sensitive to heat and water. Water-soluble vitamins, especially most of the B vitamins and vitamin C, leach into cooking water. Vitamins A, D and E are fat-soluble and leach into cooking oils. Vitamin C is the most likely to get lost in cooking being susceptible to heat, air and water. Vitamin E is sensitive to heat, air and fat. Only vitamins K and B-3 (niacin) are stable enough to hold up well during cooking.
Cooking does not reduce the amounts of most of the minerals in food, including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium and sodium. The exception is potassium, a mineral found in a wide variety of foods ranging from potatoes to fish, which can leach into cooking water.
Raw fruits and vegetables generally retain more vitamins than cooked ones. However, some foods, especially meats, must be cooked for safety’s sake. Others, such as artichokes, aren't very edible raw. Light cooking can also boost the absorption of certain nutrients, such as vitamin A, and healthful plant chemicals, such as lycopene in tomatoes.
Cooking reduces the vitamins and minerals but significantly increases the concentration of antioxidants that may help prevent cancer. The key is to strike a balance between digestibility and nutrient content by using cooking methods that keep vitamin and mineral loss to a minimum.

Four Ways to Reduce Mineral & Vitamin Loss When Preparing Food:
Minimize Air Exposure
Don’t cut fruits or vegetables until just before you plan to cook or eat them, and avoid removing the peel whenever possible. Aim to chop or slice produce into large pieces rather than small ones in order to decrease the amount of surface area that will come into contact with air. If you need to prepare produce before you use it, store it in a tightly covered container.

Minimize Exposure to Water
Cleaning raw produce by presoaking or vigorous washing with lots of water can strip nutrients. Rinsing some grains, like rice, before cooking, also causes vitamin and mineral loss. Avoiding boiling in favor of steaming, stir-frying, pressure cooking and microwaving. If you need to cook in water, use as small an amount as possible. After grains like pasta have finished cooking, don't rinse them since that can also wash away nutrients.

Lessen Cooking Time
Try to cook produce only until it is just tender -- avoid overcooking whenever possible. Heat pans well before sautéing foods and, if you're cooking in a liquid like water, bring it to a boil before adding in produce to keep the cooking time brief. Aim to cook only as much produce as you need at one time because reheating foods exposes them to more nutrient loss.

Avoid Alkaline Cooking Liquid
Recipes for cooking green vegetables like collard greens or spinach often call for the addition of baking soda, which can help preserve the dark green color of the produce. Instructions for preparing dried beans and legumes also often include baking soda to help decrease the cooking time. Baking soda, however, causes cooking water to become alkaline. An alkaline cooking environment can significantly lower the vitamin C and thiamine content of foods and should be avoided.

After learning all of this, I will definitely change my cooking strategies.
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