Is Deep-Frying the Secret to More Nutritious Vegetables?

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Good news, everyone! Researchers at the University of Granada in Spain have discovered that deep-frying vegetables in extra-virgin olive oil makes them not only delicious — but also better for you.

Their research shows that the wonderful crispy-crunchy coating we all know and love contains antioxidant-rich phenolic compounds, which can help reduce your risk of disease.

Wondering how this team managed to prove such a delightful thing? Their study compared four cooking methods: boiling, sautéing, deep-frying, and boiling in a mixture of oil and water. After the vegetables were cooked, the team analyzed them for total fat, phenol, and moisture content.

Not surprisingly, vegetables that were deep-fried or sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil registered higher in terms of fat, but they had something more: phenols. This is particularly good news when compared to the results of the boiled vegetables, which saw little change — or even lost phenols during cooking.

Now that you’ve learned how healthy and delicious a quick sauté can be, it’s a good time to study up on your sauté technique! And if you’re feeing inspired to incorporate more extra-virgin olive oil into your diet, I suggest reaching for our favorite olive oil from Trader Joe’s.

Read more: Yes! Deep-Frying Vegetables Makes Them More Nutritious from Popular Science