Did you realize even washing vegetables causes loss of folate? Learn everything you need to know to get enough folate from picking the right foods to avoiding loss in the kitchen in this five-minute video.
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Did you know that when you wash your vegetables you actually wash folate right into the sink? When it comes to folate, you got to know more than just what foods are high in folate cause there’s lots of things you could be doing in your kitchen that is gonna cause you to lose the folate that’s in your food. So if you want to know how to get enough folate, watch this video.
Hi. I’m Dr. Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com, and you’re watching Chris Masterjohn Lite, where the name of the game is “Details? Shmeetails.
Just tell me what works!” And here is what works for getting enough folate. When we think about folate, we should think about the three L’s: liver, legumes, and leafy greens. Now really it’s not about leaves, it’s about greens, so the 3rd L is really a G, but forget that. It’s easier to remember the 3 L’s. Now some of the 3 L’s are especially good. Any kind of liver falls into this category. And the following legumes fall into this category: kidney beans, chickpeas, lima beans, soy beans, mung beans, black beans, and pinto beans. Among greens, leeks, spinach, and broccoli are especially good.
If you’re eating these foods, one to two servings a day should be enough. If you’re eating other legumes and leafy greens, then you should probably eat two to three servings instead of one to two. Now when you’re eating these foods the important thing is how do you hold on to the folate to get it inside of you without losing it before it even gets into your mouth? There’s a few things to keep in mind. Number 1: freezing. Folate is really stable in liver over the course of 6 to 7 months in the freezer, but it degrades really rapidly in vegetables. So don’t trust frozen vegetables for your folate. Unfortunately I can’t find any studies on the stability of folate in dried legumes over time. I suspect that it’s very stable in dried storage.
I haven’t been able to verify how stable for how long. So if you know any of those studies, let me know. The next question is what do you do when you’re preparing it?
Well if you have to wash your food, you can lose folate in the washing water. And the loss of folate is proportional to the surface area of the food. And of course also the amount of time spent under running water. So wash your food as little and as gently as you need to, to practice good hygiene and good food safety. When you do wash it, it’s important to minimize the surface area exposed to the washing. What that means is if you’re washing leaves, wash the whole leaf before you dice it, or chop it, or shred it. If you shred a bunch of cabbage and then put it in a strainer and then subject the contents of the strainer to running water, you’re massively increasing the loss of folate in the washing water because you’ve increased the surface area. If you have legumes, it’s very possible you’ll soak those legumes. When you do that, folate leeches into the soaking water. You can have up to 20% loss of folate in the soaking water, and so what you should do is try to consume the soaking water.
So what I would do is try to use the amount of soaking water that you’ll be able to cook with after the fact, so that you don’t lose any of the folate. When you’re cooking your food, you should cook it as gently as possible. So steaming is better than boiling. Even pressure cooking is somewhat better than boiling. But no matter what you do, if it’s using water you will lose folate in the cooking water. And so just like you want to reuse the soaking water whenever possible, you also want to reuse the cooking water whenever possible. If you’re talking about vegetables, you’ll probably lose about half the folate when you cook it.
But half of that is heat-processed degradation. The other half is lost in the water. If you consume the water you’re only losing a quarter of the folate instead of half. The good news is, just like folate is super stable in liver during frozen storage, it’s also super stable in liver during cooking. You can cook liver and you won’t lose any of the folate.
All right, I hope you found this useful.
Signing off, this is Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com. You’ve been watching Chris Masterjohn Lite, and I will see you in the next video.