Unlike the four fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), the eight B vitamins and vitamin C dissolve in water. Though your body can store the fat-soluble vitamins it needs in its fat cells for weeks, your reserve of water-soluble vitamins is relatively short-lived. The primary reason is that the B complex and C vitamins easily flee our bodies in our perspiration and urine. Consequently, you need to replenish your supply of water-soluble vitamins on a daily basis. Here lies the wisdom of drinking a daily dose of orange juice (high in vitamin C) at breakfast and eating ample portions of vegetables (high in various B vitamins and sometimes in vitamin C) for lunch and dinner.
Because of their water solubility, the B complex and C vitamins leave vegetables as easily as they do your body. One way to reduce their loss is to cook your vegetables in as little liquid as possible in order to minimize the quantity of vitamins that leach out into the cooking medium. Steaming your food in a scant amount of water, therefore, is preferable to boiling it. And when you do steam (or if you must boil), use the leftover cooking liquid. Another vitamin-saving technique is to cook foods as quickly as possible, which is why Chinese woks are so highly touted by nutrition-conscious cooks.
** Asian Recipes **