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I hear some chefs saying on TV: "Don't cut your vegetables in the salad too small, because the smaller you cut them the more vitamins are lost."

Is that true? and if it was really true, what is a way to make vegetables keep their vitamins while being cut into small pieces, becasue I like salads to be eaten when each vegetable slice is around a bite in size.

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Now I have a mental image of someone trying to eat everything without chewing it first, so that none of the vitamins are lost. –  baka Jun 7 '12 at 12:33
    
I didn't mean that. Don't you notice when you chop any kind of vegetables, that it secretes a kind of liquid? Does this liquid contain the vitamins? While chewing vegetables, all their contents will be in your mouth, not no the wooden board. This is the meaning of "when we chop vegetables smaller we will loose vitamins". –  Zeina Jun 7 '12 at 12:39
    
Personally I wouldn't chop them too small because then they become too fine to eat without a spoon. –  Kogitsune Jun 7 '12 at 14:01

2 Answers 2

up vote 14 down vote accepted

This phenomenon affects fruits much worse than vegetables actually. The FDA published a report that cut or peeled fruits will lose half their vitamin C content in 1-2 weeks. Over 10-25% of this loss will occur in fruits in only 5 days.

For vegetables there exists a similar, albeit less pronounced effect. When cut the flesh inside of the vegetable is exposed to oxygen and the protection provided by the peel or covering is lost.

That being said, the process of these vegetables losing nutrients is not an immediate one. Realistically the loss that occurs between you cutting the vegetables and placing them in a salad is probably distinctly minimal. I wouldn't worry too much about the nutrient loss as long as you aren't cutting the vegetables and then storing them for a long period of time.

See: http://nutrition.about.com/od/askyournutritionist/f/cutveg.htm

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Fresh cut vegetables lose none of their nutritional content. If you are cutting a salad before dinner you have nothing to be concerned about. The only time cutting matters is when produce is prepared many days in advance. If that is the case, vitamins are not the only thing lost, so are flavor and texture.

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A definite and absolute statement like this calls for a source to back it up. –  BobMcGee Jun 9 '12 at 16:22

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