Trace metals, as the name suggests, are available in most food items though in small amount but are extremely essential in our diet. Such trace metals includes Iron, Zinc and Magnesium. It is known that food preparation especially cooking would cause the reduction of the level of these metal ions in the food items. The 3 cooking methods that would be investigated are steaming, boiling and microwaving and thereby determining which cooking method would cause the least reduction of the concentration of metal ions. Research Question: To investigate the effect of three different cooking methods, steaming, boiling and microwaving, on the leaching of Fe3+ ions in Spinach (Spinacia oleracea).
The concentration of iron(III) ions in spinach was determined by ashing a fixed mass of spinach leaves, adding Hydrochloric acid to leach out the Fe3+ ions, and subsequently using the UV visible spectrometry to determine the concentration of ions present. The percentage loss of ions was then recorded at regulated time intervals for the different cooking methods. The spinach was cooked for a total of 5 mins and experiments would be carried out every 1 min. Spinach was chosen to be the vegetable of choice as it contains a high level of iron compared to other trace metals.
The results of this experiment showed that increase cooking time reduces the amount of iron(III) ions in vegetables and that the boiling leaches the most ions followed by steaming then boiling. The results can directly impact our lives as cooking is essential in daily lives. It is known that eating vegetables raw is the healthiest as there would be the highest level of minerals and vitamins in it. Therefore, cooking food items for the shortest time possible would allow greater retention of trace metals, making it more beneficial for consumption.
Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Rationale behind Research Question
I am interested in the trace metal iron in our diet due to its wide range of benefits when consumed. Iron is an essential mineral few know much about. The importance of iron cannot be over emphasies in our daily lives. It is a part of the blood cells in the body. The main function of iron is the formations of haemoglobin which carries oxygen from the lungs to the muscles and other organs. If the body is low in iron, fatigue, irritability and headaches may occur. If the deficiency becomes significant, this can lead to anaemia. If left untreated, anemia can be serious, with potentially life-threatening complications . Children and pre-menopausal women are the groups most prone to the disease.