In this section of Seattle Organic Restaurants I’m going to talk about fried onions. Many people like fried onions in their food. Cuisines such as Indian, Italian, Persian, and Thai use fried onions for flavor extensively and once people get use to the taste, it is hard to give up the addiction. There are two things about fried onions in particular that are not necessarily good for you. First, many of the nutrients in vegetables and fruits are unstable and react quite fast to heat, air, water, and light. As soon as fruits and vegetables are picked they start to lose their nutrients, although at a very low rate initially.
By the time vegetables and fruits are shipped to a grocery store and are ready to be purchased by customers, they may have lost their nutrients anywhere between 5% to 30%. Vitamin C and the B vitamins are the fastest deteriorating, among all others, once they are exposed to heat, air, water, and light. So when you purchase onions from your local store, and by the time you have cooked onion and are ready to eat them, they may have already lost quite a bit of their vitamins and nutritional value. Onions have Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Folate, and Choline. There are also value minerals in onions, with the highest being potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium. Even minerals can be destroyed by heating and often by water (during washing). Second, what is really a perfect way to destroy nutrients is to fry your onions.
Fried onions retain heat and increase the temperature of the oil used for frying and together get awfully hot and the intense temperature can easily burn your skins if any of it gets on you, as no doubt most people are aware of and unfortunately have experienced once or twice during their cooking experience. This high intense temperature of fried onions not only destroys the nutrients in onions themselves but also whatever else you have being fried with the onions, for instance if you are making a vegetable fried rice dish. High temperatures during frying destroy the fat-soluble vitamins like A and Vitamin E which are very heat-sensitive as well as other fatty acids like vitamin F. What’s worse is that when oils are heated to very high temperatures during frying, e.g. smoking point temperatures, they produced carcinogens.
If you have chicken or beef in your vegetable fried rice dish, then it gets even worse. Protein has an ability to take more heat and tolerates higher temperatures before being destroyed and in fact cooking it helps digestion. But, while the right amount of cooking makes protein easier to digest, over-heating does just the exact opposite and protein becomes indigestible. The only things that are worse than fried onions in your food, are re-heating, re-frying, storing, freezing, and re-freezing. Fresh foods are best for you and have the highest possible nutrients that you body can use to strengthen itself or heal itself if necessary. While we are young and healthy with a high metabolism rate our bodies can take more punch from free radicals and nutrient deficient diet until we get older and then we see the ill-effects because eventually everyone has to pay the price of a bad diet. First it usually starts with skin problems, then getting regular colds and lowered immunity, followed by fatigue and lack of concentration and if it still continues then there will be the beginning of susceptibility to many diseases ranging from heart disease, diabetes to cancer.