Water Soluable Vitamins and Cooking

The water soluble vitamins, (All B vitamins and Vitamin C), are essential for the body. All the B vitamins work as coenzymes that facilitate work in each cell.  The B vitamins are essential coenzymes for the metabolism in the body.  People suffering with issues of fatigue are often deficient in B vitamins. Vitamin C is involved in countless ways in the body ranging from being an antioxidant to supporting the immune system.  The problem is that these vitamins are susceptible to cooking damage.  Below is a list of the water soluble vitamins and how each one is affected by cooking.


Thiamin can be destroyed by prolonged heat or too high of heat.

Riboflavin can be destroyed by ultraviolet rays from the sun or ultraviolet lights, but it is heat stable.

  • This means that food kept in clear or glass containers may lose riboflavin.  An excellent source of riboflavin is in dairy and thus when you go to the grocery store, dairy is sold in opaque and plastic containers.

Niacin is less susceptible to heat and cooking damage.

Biotin is less susceptible to heat and cooking damage.

Pantothenic Acid can be easily destroyed in the cooking, canning, freezing, and refining process.

Vitamin B6 is susceptible to heat and cooking damage.

Folate levels can be decreased by half through the cooking, storing, and exposure to oxygen.

Vitamin B12 is inactivated by the microwave, but when food is cooked on the stove top or in the oven, this vitamin is not affected.

Vitamin C is easily destroyed by heat and exposure to oxygen.


To decrease the risk of losing vitamins it is important to

  • Wash vegetables before cutting them
  • Steam them in small amounts of water
    • Using the steam water within the dish decreases the amount of vitamins loss.
  • Microwave for short periods of time
  • Avoid high temperatures for cooking



Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition, Whitney, Cataldo, Rolfes, Ninth Edition ISBN 0-534-62208-9 by Thompson Wadsworth

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