It’s not new news that vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals essential to optimal health. When it comes to cooking and preparation, these nutrients can be fragile and diminish quickly. To get the most nutrition out of your vegetables, make the following part of your routine:
1. Keep the peel.
Removing the peel also removes significant nutrients. For example, discarding an apple peel throws out dietary fiber, vitamin C, phytonutrients and minerals. If you are concerned about pesticides, instead of removing the peel thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables to remove contaminants – or you may want to select organic produce.
2. Chop Vegetables After Cooking.
If you chop vegetables prior to cooking, the larger exposed surface area increases vitamin and mineral loss. One study showed that carrots retain 25% more of certain nutrients when they were cooked whole rather than chopped. There is also some evidence that chopping after you cook enhances the flavor of the vegetable. This method will work well with basic steamed vegetables or grilled. It won’t work well if you want to saute or roast.
3. Avoid Soaking or Boiling Vegetables.
Soaking vegetables for a long period of time to clean them can leach some nutrients into the water. The same thing occurs when you boil vegetables. Roasting and Steaming are better choices and help retain more nutrients.
4. Don’t Store Too Long.
The longer you store vegetables the more nutrients are lost. Take into account where your produce is being shipped from. That also adds to the time it’s been cut from the plant. Making room for your own garden and buying local produce can help decrease the time. Also, not letting them sit in your refrigerator too long.
5. Cook lightly.
The longer a vegetable is exposed to heat the more nutrients will be lost. Try not to forget about your vegetables sitting in the steamer while you cook the rest of the meal.
Try to optimize the nutrients as much as you can using the above tips but remember, boiled broccoli that was sitting in your refrigerator for 5 days still has more nutrients than none at all.
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