A Study Reveals Deep-Frying Your Food Is Actually Good for You

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A study conducted by the University of Granada in Spain and published in the journal Food Chemistry reveals something we could have never guessed: deep-frying vegetables in extra virgin olive oil actually makes them more nutritious. 

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How so? The deep-frying process in EVOO adds antioxidant-rich phenolic compounds to the veggies, while other cooking techniques, like boiling, don’t deliver this type of nutritional value.

The test subjects in the study—a tomato, eggplant, potato and pumpkin (all common foods in a Mediterranean diet)—were cooked three different ways, including boiling in water, boiling in a mixture of water and oil, and of course, deep-frying. The veggies were then studied by researchers, who examined the moisture levels, fat content and amount of phenols (antioxidants) present. 

One reason why this research is so important is that higher levels of phenols have been linked to a host of chronic degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes and macular degeneration.

“We can conclude that frying in EVOO was the technique with the highest associated increases of phenols and can therefore be considered an improvement in the cooking process, although it also increases the calorie density of the food because of the amount of oil absorbed,” said one of the study’s authors, Cristina Samaniego Sánchez, in a press release.

Celebrity nutritionist Paula Simpson adds, “We’ve moved beyond the no-fat diet crazes and this is the type of research helping to debunk those myths. The combination of olive oil with antioxidant-rich vegetables, slightly heated, not only improves antioxidant density, but also helps to improve bioavailability of those antioxidants in the body, particularly carotenoids. Be mindful, however, of what you combine olive oil with—choose deep, colorful vegetables over the typical white potato.”

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