Healthiest way to eat your vegetables

Article from The Times Body and Soul 22/8/2015

Vegetables are a source of Vitamin A and C, and minerals calcium and iron.

They also give phytonutrients – antioxidants thought to slow the effects of ageing of body and brain.

fiveHere are preparation tips to stop loss of nutrients:

Don’t eat salad with fat-free dressing

Why? More salad nutrients are absorbed when eaten with fat. Extra virgin olive oil contains the most phytonutrients. Green leafy veg are better stir fried with oil as it increases absorption of fat soluble vitamins – A,D, E, K.

Leave garlic for 10 mins before frying

Why? Allicin in garlic has anti-bacterial properties and heat inactivates it. By leaving it, it does its work.

Fresh or frozen?

Green beans lose 40% folic acid, zinc and vit C within 2 days. Frozen fruit and veg are chilled within hours of picking which locks in anti-oxidants which fight cancer. Farm to plate for other veg can take months so frozen can be best.

Buy whole head of broccoli not florets.

Why? Cutting destroys nutrients – anti-oxidants and phytonutrients break down by oxidation.

After 10 days – the time from field to shop – broccoli lost 75% flavonoids (anti-oxidants) and 80% glucosinolates – believed to stimulate the immune system. By freshest you can and cook straight away.

Buy canned tomatoes
Why? Cooking makes them more nutritious. Heat changes lycopene (antioxidant) so it can be absorbed. Canned tomatoes higher in phytonutrients. Tomato paste is even better. Lycopene found to protect against prostate cancer.

Use vegetable peelings

Peelings have a higher concentration of antioxidants than the rest of the vegetable so use them in cooking.

Don’t soak fruit and veg

Wash them to get rid of bacteria and pesticide residue. If you soak them, water soluble nutrients leach out. Parboil and rinse under the cold tap. Steaming, microwaving, sauteing and roasting don’t use water so are more nutritious.

Chill potatoes after cooking!

This changes the starch to a type that is digested more slowly, and contain more fibre for gut health.

Buy canned beans

Canned beans have more antioxidants than dried beans. If you prefer dried beans, let them sit in liquid for an hour after cooking to reabsorb some nutrients.


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