Are these healthier, superior, etc., these cold-pressed vegetable and fruit juices, cold-pressed oil, cold-pressed seed powders and other things that claim to be cold-pressed? The thing is, these are relatively expensive too and it is but natural that someone consuming these will want to be sure that the claims and price are justified.
What are cold-pressed food products?
As the name reflects, cold-press technique does not involve application of heat to process food items. Instead, hydraulic pressure is applied on the food items to prevent generation of heat. Thus, while fruit juices are usually prepared by using a centrifugal technique that involves production of heat, cold-pressed juices are prepared by applying hydraulic pressure.
Why is application of heat bad for the food products?
Fruit and vegetable juices are typically extracted by using heat, friction, speed and pressure from fast-spinning juicer blades. In effect, many nutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals) are lost in the process (from the heat). The same goes for traditionally extracted oil: heat is used to break down seeds and nuts to extract their oils.
Some food products have nutrients that are very sensitive to heat. Any exposure to heat may disrupt the structure of the nutrients. During extraction of oilseeds, using cold-pressed technique is helpful in retaining the aroma, taste and nutritive value of the oil. Of course, application of heat impacts food items differently. For example, lycopene, which is a component present in tomatoes, benefits a person more if it is heated; on the other hand, the components in broccoli are destroyed when they are heated.
COLD-PRESSED PRODUCTS ARE LESS EXPOSED TO THE OXIDATION PROCESS
Exposure to oxygen is not good for food products such as oilseeds, oils, fruit juices and vegetable juices. It disrupts the structure of the nutrients therein. As the product is exposed to air, the nutrient breaks down into different structures. Not only this, oxidation of a food product such as oil also leads to formation of free radicals. This is not good for health and can contribute to diseases such as cancer and diabetes as well as other degenerative conditions. Products that are prepared using the cold-press technique are less
exposed to air and are therefore considered to be better.
Are cold-pressed products worth the price at which they are sold?
So, while you can have a normal tetra-pak juice of 200 ml for about Rs 20, you will have to shell out about Rs 150 for a 250 ml Raw Pressery coldpressed juice in a plastic bottle. Similarly, 500 gm of roasted and grounded flaxseed powder will cost you about Rs 150, while 450 gm of cold-pressed flaxseed powder will be about Rs 375 (Health 1st Cold-Milled Flaxseed Powder). Apparently, the price difference is due to the quality of the cold-pressed food product. Nevertheless, while cold-pressed products are better, you can definitely look for alternatives. For example, you can opt to have whole and fresh fruits instead of consuming packaged or cold-pressed juices.
The following table explains why cold-pressed juices are better than normal packet juices and are costlier
Packet vs Cold-pressed Juice
|Normal Packet Juice Fruits juices prepared via centrifugal technique||High heat is produced||Less (juice) in quantity) is produced||Less retention in the nutritional properties of the product||Shorter life span||Less expensive|
|Cold-pressed Juice||Less heat is produced||More (juice) in quantity) is produced||More retention in the nutritional properties of the product||Longer life span||More expensive|
Tips for consumers related to cold-pressed products
- Choose one-serving cold-pressed products over large ones.
Once you open the product, it will be exposed to oxygen and the nutritional quality may start to deteriorate. It is advisable to consume the product as soon as you can. Hence, prefer 250 ml cold-pressed juice bottles over the larger ones, 15 gm/30 gm flaxseed powder sachets, and so on.
- Check the amounts of added sugar and total sugar on the juice bottles.
Although cold-pressed juices are healthier alternatives, it’s important to check the amount of sugar in it before you buy it. If the total sugar component is more than 6 gm/100 ml, then it is advisable to look for other alternatives.
- Look at the ‘nutrient contents’ table and any specific handling instructions.
Cold-pressed oils are definitely healthier than most other oils. But they must be handled differently. Look for a specific instruction on handling on the pack of the product. For example, if the oil has high unsaturated fats, it is not advisable to heat it too much as it may compromise the nutritional quality of the product.
- Store it well.
Some of these products are sensitive to light. It’s advisable to store them in a dark place, especially if they are packed in a transparent container.