Macrobiotic cooking - what happens to the nutrients

Macrobiotic cooking

  • supports health of many levels
  • supplies the best nutrition available
  • is delicious and satisfying
  • supports our happiness.

What happens to the nutrients during macrobiotic cooking?

Cooking changes nutrition value of the food for better or for worse. For example, style of cooking of vegetables may make vitamin C readily available for absorption or bring out complex carbohydrates. Macrobiotics teaches when one would need the former or the latter and how to combine the ingredients.

Macrobiotic cooking differs significantly from several popular cooking styles.

Even of you are not ready to embrace the macrobiotic lifestyle, you can still benefit from learning eight ways of proper cooking that brings out nutrients in food and makes them bioavailable. You are probably already using some of them without realizing what happens to your food while you cook it.

Eight ways to cook the food according to the macrobiotic teaching

  1. Blanching
  2. Blanching brings out water-soluble vitamins C and B. Vegetables change color to brighter - at the peak of brightness, vitamins are at the surface. When leafs turn dark, your lost vitamins are in the water. Vitamin C brings out freshness of the food.

    Blanching requires only 10 seconds - so cut your vegetables thin. This style of cooking brings our energy up to the surface, gives us freshness, helps if we are tight and contracted, relaxes our minds and bodies.

    Blanch round and leafy vegetables, root and leafy or combination of the three with a pinch of salt. Blanched vegetables should be crunchy. Add rice vinegar or squeeze tangerine on your vegetables.

  3. Long boil
  4. Long boil is used to gather the sweetness of vegetables- brings out complex carbs. This style of cooking nourishes spleen, stomach, pancreas. Components required are: vegetable butter, mix of veggies, a bit of water, and pinch of salt.

    Soup is an example of a long boil.

    When you don't consume enough long cooked dishes, you crave heavy food, fish and baked goods.

  5. Steaming
  6. Steaming is more yang style, brings more of a fiber aspect. Steaming is good if you want to lose weight. People with asthma should steam their vegetables rather than eating raw salad.

  7. Nishime-steaming
  8. Nishime means waterless cooking. It is a superb way of cooking without oil. It prevents nutrients escape into the boiling or steaming water. Used in order to "boil to tighten" root and round vegetables in a big round pot, and can also be used to cook tempeh and tofu.

    Nishime style cooking is often recommended for people with illness. This style gives vitality, it strengthens us deep internally. Put a bit of kombu or kelp in a bit of water in the pot with a heavy lid. Add vegetables cut into 2-inch chunks, add about 1 inch of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to boil. To cook for a hour, put larger chunks.

  9. Baking

  10. Baking brings out richness, salt and protein. Important in cold climates, baking is the special way to cook winder vegetables – squash and pumpkin. Pancreas, prostate, blood pressure and liver problems get worse from baking.

  11. Sauté
  12. Sautéing is an active style of cooking, good for sports, activity, getting energy out. To sauté, lightly brush the cast-iron skillet or wok with sesame oil, add the vegetables or greens, quickly move them around. Use a high flame if you want crisper, more quickly cooked vegetables.

    Sauté in oil is more active than in water - brings out protein, stimulates your mind.

  13. Tempura
  14. Tempura (deep-frying) means "golden pieces" – this style combines sauté and simmer. It gathers yin energy from the periphery and charges it down. It is a very strengthening style of cooking. Tempura strengthens lower body - good for hips, after pregnancy etc. Cut round roots matchsticks style, saute and simmer.

  15. Pressure cooking
  16. Pressure cooking is the way to prepare grains. Pressure drives heat from the center of the grain and complex carbs come out . Boiling is more on the periphery. Principal food of the macrobiotic diet is grain. Brown rice - yang – is for charge, strength, vitality, gives strong direction in life. Buckwheat is another important grain- in the cold climate, there is nothing like buckwheat.

  17. Pressed salad
  18. Pressed salad is a type of coleslaw - helps to discharge protein and digest animal foods . This is a form of cooking without fire, using just salt, time and pressure. Improves flexibility of the intestine. Staple food in Eastern Europe, cabbage kraut, or pickled cabbage, is an example of this style of cooking.

Cooking is the art that promotes life

Cooking is the way we get control of our lives. Using these eight macrobiotic cooking styles will help you ensure that the nutrients not only preserved, but used to heal specific conditions your body may have. Use the variety of cooking styles and variety of vegetables to ensure you get all the spectrum of vitamins, minerals, fiber and carbs that your food can provide. And remember - cooking delicious and satisfying food is the most important goal!


  1. The macrobiotic way: the complete macrobiotic lifestyle book
    By Michio Kushi, Stephen Blauer, Wendy Esko
    ISBN 1583331808, 9781583331804
  2. Lecture of Warren Kramer, an internationally renowned macrobiotic counselor and educator.

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