The impact of food processing on the nutritional quality of vitamins and minerals

Adv Exp Med Biol. 1999:459:99-106. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4615-4853-9_7.


Processing (including preparation) makes food healthier, safer, tastier and more shelf-stable. While the benefits are numerous, processing can also be detrimental, affecting the nutritional quality of foods. Blanching, for example, results in leaching losses of vitamins and minerals. Also, milling and extrusion can cause the physical removal of minerals during processing. The nutritional quality of minerals in food depends on their quantity as well as their bioavailability. The bioavailability of key minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium is known to be significantly affected by the fiber, phytic acid, and tannin content of foods. Concentrations of these constituents are altered by various processing methods including milling, fermentation, germination (sprouting), extrusion, and thermal processing. Vitamins, especially ascorbic acid, thiamin and folic acid, are highly sensitive to the same processing methods. The time and temperature of processing, product composition and storage are all factors that substantially impact the vitamin status of our foods.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ascorbic Acid / metabolism
  • Biological Availability
  • Biotin / metabolism
  • Cooking
  • Folic Acid / metabolism
  • Food Handling*
  • Humans
  • Minerals / metabolism*
  • Niacin / metabolism
  • Nutritive Value
  • Thiamine / metabolism
  • Vitamin A / metabolism
  • Vitamin K / metabolism
  • Vitamins / metabolism*


  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Niacin
  • Biotin
  • Folic Acid
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Thiamine