The next time you’re thinking of including potatoes in a meal you may want to eschew boiling the spuds in favour of frying them in extra virgin olive oil.
A study at the University of Granada in Spain found that frying vegetables in extra virgin olive oil produces higher levels of antioxidants that prevent several diseases. Researchers cooked eggplant, potato, pumpkin, and tomato four different ways: Boiling in water, boiling in a mixture of water and oil, deep-frying, and sauteing.
The deep-fried vegetables were found to have the highest levels of natural phenols, the antioxidants that fight the threat of diseases such as cancer and diabetes. The extra virgin olive oil enriches the vegetables with its own phenols. Of course, deep-frying anything will increase its fat content, but you can’t put a price on flavour…right?
“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 study co-author Christina Samaniego Sanchez.
“If the concentration of phenols found in the raw ingredients is high to start with, the overall concentration level is further increased if EVOO is employed during the cooking process, while boiling does not significantly affect the concentration levels.”
Just be careful when deep-frying with olive oil, as its smoke point is much lower than that of many of the oils restaurants normally use.