When produce is sautéed over low heat, antioxidants including carotenoids and polyphenols are pulled into the oil, says study author Rosa Lamuela-Raventos, Ph.D., professor of nutrition, food sciences, and gastronomy at the University of Barcelona in Spain. In turn, your body absorbs more of them.
Other methods of cooking don’t provide the same benefits. When steaming, vegetables release their nutrients into the water, which you lose once they’re drained, Lamuela-Raventos explains. Roasting and grilling require higher temperatures that affect the oil-antioxidant interaction differently than sautéing does.
The bottom line:
You’ll get the most nutrients from ingredients high in carotenoids and polyphenols (such as tomatoes, garlic, and onions) by sautéing them in EVOO over low heat for up to 30 minutes or until soft, says Lamuela-Raventos.