Cooking methods While preparing and cooking a meal can be very enjoyable, and be a great way to socialize and share delicious dishes, the nutritional content of foods generally diminishes as soon as any heat is applied. Cooking foods makes them easier to digest and more readily available for use by our bodies, but some cooking methods are potentially harmful in themselves. - Frying – the unhealthiest means of cooking. Frying foods changes the oils and becomes harmful to the cardiovascular system. - Steaming – One of the healthiest methods and most efficient at preserving nutrients. - Boiling – many nutrients are lost during boiling, particularly vitamins and minerals. The best way to boil is to use as little water as possible and put food into boiling water. Try cooking for minimal amounts of time. - Stir-frying – a healthier alternative to deep-frying with foods being cooked in less oil and for a shorter period of time. Nutrients are still lost and fats altered chemically. - Microwaving – the nutritional value of foods cooked remains quite high which is good. It is a quick method of cooking that aids retention of nutrients. - Stews and soups – with these methods, cooking liquor is served as well as the food, providing more nutrients in the meal. If the temperature is too high nutrients are lost. - Roasting – Age-old method used for cooking meat, poultry and vegetables. Not a great deal of fat involved, temperatures are generally not too high which helps. - Barbecues – Traditionally used to cook meats and fish, little fat is involved so it appears to be quite a healthy method of cooking. When foods are served well browned on the outside it can become carcinogenic.