One of the most common cooking methods that are very little discussed whether there are some side effects of pressure cooker while cooking in it?
It has become a way of life for us and we have assumed that this is the natural way to cook our potatoes, rice, and meats.
But there are contradictory views on the health impact of pressure-cooked food. Read to know about it.
It is certainly a logical and valid question… in fact, it was the question that kept me from trying a pressure cooker for years until I finally decided to research it, and what I found was fascinating.
To need to know its side effects first, it’s important to know that how does a pressure cooker work…
How Does a Pressure Cooker Work?
A pressure cooker is a pressurized pot that cooks food using a combination of steam and heat.
While it would seem that high heat is required, the pressure and steam actually provide much of the cooking power.
A pressure cooker has a valve that seals in the steam, creating a high-pressure environment.
This is beneficial because it increases the boiling point of the water or liquid in the pot and forces moisture into the food in the form of steam.
Both of these help the food cook much more quickly.
How does this work?
Consider this, water boils at a lower temperature at higher altitudes. This is because the lack of pressure allows the water to boil at a lower temperature.
You may also have noticed special high-altitude cooking instructions in certain recipes and this is partially why.
The lower the temperature at which water boils, the faster food will start to dry out and the more difficult it will be to cook. This is also the reason why food takes longer to cook at higher altitudes.
Pressure cooking essentially does the opposite of altitude, increases the boiling point of water, and decreases cooking time.
Since steam cannot escape from the pressure cooker, it prevents water loss and you are able to cook food without losing heat.
Does Pressure Cooker Destroy Nutrients?
This is one of the most common questions of all time – does cooking in pressure cooker destroy nutrients?
At first glance, the idea of cooking foods quickly seems too good and it just seems logical that there is a downside, such as a loss of nutrients.
Fortunately, in researching this question, I found that the reverse is actually true!
The readers’ have also asked
Readers have also asked, if a pressure cooker uses high heat (see above) and if this creates similar negative effects of high-heat methods like grilling and broiling.
Again, it makes sense until we delve into the science of heat and pressure and understand that the increased pressure is what creates the faster cooking environment, not higher heat.
To reiterate, pressure cookers actually cook at a lower temperature than most other methods (steaming, roasting, etc.) but do it more efficiently.
All cooking methods reduce nutrients to some degree, but I was surprised how much of a difference the cooking method could make!
In fact, a 1995 study found that pressure cooking preserved nutrients in food more than modern cooking methods;
- Boiling reduced nutrients the most with a range of 40 to 75% retained (up to a 60% loss of nutrients!)
- Steaming and roasting preserved up to 90% of nutrients (but in some measurements, almost half of nutrients were lost!)
- Cooking in a pressure cooker does a good job at preserving nutrients with a 90 to 95% retention rate
Source: The Dr. Gundry Podcast
This makes sense when you think about it. Since the pressure cooking does not require a much higher temperature and shortens the cooking time, there is less time for nutrient loss.
For this reason, pressure cooking may actually preserve nutrients better than other methods of cooking.
There are a couple of notable exceptions to this rule:
This cooking method does seem to deactivate certain properties in food like phytic acid.
Pressure cooking seems to do a better job of deactivating these substances than modern cooking methods.
Also, Check my other post where I have discussed some, pressure cooker pros and cons.
Make sure to check that article as well because the pressure cookers of our generation come with fancy features and safety measures. So it’s good if we know its Pros and Cons.
Pressure Cooker: Bottom Line
Like any other method, cooking in a pressure cooker does destroy some of the nutrients in food, but it actually preserves more than any other modern cooking method.
With newer electric pressure cookers, pressure cooking is a convenient and healthy way to get food on the table for your family and having no side effects of pressure cooker.
You can cook easily while still preserving the nutrients in your food.