Steamed vs. boiled?

What's the difference between steaming vegetables and cooking them in boiling water.. taste and nutritional value?

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Hi Determined. This is an excellent question, but it does not have a simple answer.

    First, I have never seen a scientific study that compares steaming to boiling. I just searched the world's medical literature on Medline (used by medical researchers to view medical research) and found no comparison studies of vitamin/mineral content for steaming vs. boiling.

    There have been a couple of recent studies looking at nutrient content of certain phytonutrients in broccoli, comparing raw versus steamed. Because an important enzyme (myrosinase) is degraded by the heat of steaming, raw broccoli has 3 times the level of certain cancer fighting phytonutrients.

    We can 'compare' boiling to steaming by thinking about these two processes (Einstein called this type of thinking a 'thought experiment'.) Boiled water and steam are the same temperature, BUT, steam has a much higher energy content. This is why steam is more effective as a 'cleaning' agent than hot water.

    Because steam contains more energy, it will be more effective at dissolving nutrients like vitamins and minerals (and it will be more effective at damaging enzymes like mysrosinase). Additionally, the dissolved nutrients are literally carried away in the steam.

    Boiling will dissolve nutrients more slowly (because the water has less energy than steam) and the boiled water is retained in the pot. You can consume these nutrients!!! Just add the boiled water to your meal, or make a soup or sauce from it.

    In summary, I would suggest brief boiling is better than brief steaming, consuming the 'boiled water' prevents the 'loss' of these nutrients, and raw (if you have good digestion) may be best of all.

    Best wishes and good luck.

  • 1 decade ago

    Actually- quite abit. Steaming veggies preserves MUCH more of the taste and nutritional value of them, because there's much LESS physical contact with the cooking medium (boiling water). They also tend to remain alittle crisper (as long as you don't over-steam them)...-Thus further enhancing the taste of the vegetables. If you have the choice, steaming vegetables is the way to go. :)

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    I prefer boiling to steaming corn, but if you get the chance ... do yourself a favor and try grilling it. Be sure to soak in salt water for a couple of hours and grill until the husk is charred. You won't need the boiled vs. steamed debate ever again! Microwaving on the cobb is a nice alternative too!

  • 6 years ago

    A study published in the "Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE B" in August 2009 found that steaming was the cooking method that resulted in the least loss of nutrients in broccoli, including vitamin C and beneficial plant chemicals called glucosinolates and chlorophyll. Although steaming didn't result in the loss of folate from broccoli or spinach, boiling caused losses of more than 50 percent in a study published in the "British Journal of Nutrition" in December 2002. (so, as Doctor J pointed out himself, he actually made up his answer and it was wrong - be careful not to misinform people please)

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    When steamed, veggies usually turn out more crisp, and retain more nutritional value than when boiled. Both are good cookieng methods, though. Hope I helped!


  • ncgirl
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    you lose the nutrition in boiled foods, plus steamed tastes better.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    thay are the same taste and nutritional

  • pops
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago


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