Food requires treatments that prevent its deterioration , since, with the passage of time, they are modified biochemically and are not suitable for consumption. In this process the nutritional value of food is modified. Therefore, here we tell you how technological processes influence the nutritional value of food.
How do technological processes influence the nutritional value of food?
There are certain foods that deteriorate faster than others, such as milk, meat, fish, vegetables and fruits. This is because these foods have more water than, for example, nuts, which can be stored for longer.
The food industry applies technological processes for four fundamental reasons :
- Eliminate the risk of disease transmission associated with the presence of microorganisms in raw products.
- Make them pleasant to the palate and facilitate their consumption and digestibility.
- Eliminate certain factors present in raw materials that act as antinutritive agents .
- Increase its life.
What technological processes apply to food?
There are several technological processes that decrease or eliminate the possible growth of microorganisms. They also try to avoid the chemical and biochemical reactions that cause their deterioration.
Here we will explain the most common processes used by the food industry and also used in our own kitchens:
Refrigeration and freezing
It is the main treatment to preserve the nutritional value , since it prevents enzymatic activity and bacterial growth. The nutritional losses are scarce or null, since these are produced exclusively by the packaging, freezing system or by the defrosting process, in the event that the cold chain is broken.
Therefore, when we defrost a food, we must defrost it in the refrigerator , since microorganisms grow faster at room temperature.
In this method the water is extracted totally or partially from a food. The effects on nutritional value are:
- Loss of some vitamins due to high temperatures.
- Denaturation of proteins.
- Modification of the organoleptic properties.
Pasteurization is applied to dairy and vegetable foods , fundamentally. It is important to avoid raw dairy , as they may have pathogenic organisms, although some vitamins are lost.
It is the most effective method by heat, since it eliminates pathogenic, vegetative organisms and spores. However, it negatively affects many nutrients, particularly vitamins, which are lost by heat, and the biological value of proteins, by the Maillard reaction .
All vegetables, except onions, have to be scalded with water or steam before being frozen to reduce the microbial load and inactivate the enzymes that can cause the development of abnormal flavors during storage.
The blanching is performed in water at 90-100 ° C, or using steam at 120-130 ° C for 2-10 minutes. Vitamins and minerals are usually lost. Therefore, frozen vegetables have fewer vitamins and minerals than raw vegetables .
It is one of the most common methods for cooking, in which food is immersed in water at a temperature of about 100 ° C. In this procedure, an important part of the vitamins and minerals pass into the cooking water . Therefore, it is advisable to take advantage of this cooking broth.
Cooking has benefits on nutritional value , since:
- There are foods that increase your bioavailability of nutrients, such as legumes, potatoes and eggs.
- Improves the bioavailability of proteins and complex carbohydrates.
- Improves the organoleptic characteristics of food.
Process by which food is cooked with oil at high temperature in a short time. The effects on nutritional value are:
- Loss of the nutritional value of proteins.
- Appearance of toxic compounds by oxidation of fats.
- Thermal destruction of vitamins.
- Increase in the energy value of the food.
Microwaves emit low-energy electromagnetic radiation that cannot be ionized. Therefore, they hardly generate free radicals and there are no compounds that alter organoleptic characteristics or that can be considered toxic.
The baking is subjected to uniform and constant heat in a food, obtaining cooking and different textures. It influences the nutritional value as follows:
- Loss of proteins by Maillard reaction and vitamins that are lost by heat.
- Increases protein digestibility.
- Loss of antinutrients.
- Increases the bioavailability of group B vitamins.
It is similar to baking, but it seeks to achieve crispy textures. It results in nutritional losses related to proteins and vitamins, especially thiamine.
Thanks to technological processes, we can preserve food for longer and avoid microbial diseases. If you eat a healthy and varied diet, do not worry about the loss of nutrients that originate these methods.