It is common knowledge that foods contain different nutrients that are necessary for optimal health. We continuously advocate eating the rainbow, i.e. eating a variety of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables, because that is a surefire way to obtain important vitamins and minerals. But how do you know if you are getting all the nutrients from the foods you eat? We’ve got some easy tips for you to unlock all the nutrients and health benefits.
What Affects The Nutrients In Your Food?
There are several things that decrease the nutritional content in your foods. The number one way to kill the nutrients in your food is by cooking it over high heat for too long. A few other factors, however, can decrease the nutritional value of your food:
- How long you take to prepare the food from the time you purchase it.
- The distance and time the food has taken to travel from wherever it was grown to your table.
- The amount of time since the fruit or vegetable has been picked.
- How you prepare the food.
In order to retain the nutrients in your fruits and vegetables, employ the following tips.
Chop Garlic 10 Minutes Before Cooking With It
The classic move is to chop garlic and immediately throw it in the pan to sauté it. In order to reap the anti-carcinogenic, antiviral, and antibacterial properties of garlic, it is integral to chop it ten minutes before cooking it. The compound allicin, which is responsible for the anti-carcinogenic effects, will be much lower after cooking in a pan over high heat. The ten-minute window allows for the creation of a lot of allicin and for it to be protected from the heat.
Food Selection & Storage
First off, don’t buy pre-cut fruits or vegetables because the skin actually helps the foods retain vitamins. The selection and storage of food can affect the nutritional content. One of the ways to ensure that your fruits and vegetables have the most nutrients is to buy seasonal produce. Seasonal produce items are typically picked just before they are perfectly ripe and are at the farmer’s market/local grocery store the same or next day. When it comes to storing the produce you buy, certain items can lose nutrients if they are stored in the fridge or stored on the countertop. Citrus fruits, leafy greens, and broccoli are better preserved in the fridge, while tomatoes or watermelons are best stored at room temperature.
Eating specific foods together is a great way to increase the bioavailability. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, vitamin C helps the body absorb plant-based iron, and black pepper stimulates the release of digestive enzymes when consumed with turmeric. Learn how to absorb the most nutrients from your fruits and vegetables.
We cannot stress this enough: do not overcook your vegetables! The easiest ways to kill the nutrients is by roasting, grilling, or sautéing vegetables over high heat. Try alternative methods like steaming or baking at low heat. It is best to use small amounts of water and low heat when you decide to cook. This will help your vegetables retain the most nutrients. Soups and stews are great ways to make the most of your nutrients!