Vegetables. We all know we should eat them. Their strong showing of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber help power us through the day in a healthy manner. It’s also hard to argue with the numerous studies that show those who eat vegetables have lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Even though you can harness optimal nutrition from your veggies depending on the type you choose and how you prepare them, the full story of nutrient availability begins the moment the veggie is picked. Once this occurs, the clock is ticking. This is one of the many reasons why buying local and seasonal produce is such a good idea—less time in transport from the earth to your kitchen means more nutrients will stayed packed in your produce.
Consuming a good mix of raw and properly cooked veggies is the way to go when it comes to getting your daily intake and retaining the most nutrients. It’s as easy as having a big salad with your lunch and a couple different steamed greens with dinner.
Once it’s time to get cooking, there are a few easy rules that will help keep the maximum amount of nutrition in your vegetables—and in your body.
If you’re not going to consume fresh produce right away, store in an airtight bag in the refrigerator. Avoid chopping and trimming prior to storage to cut down on the surface area exposed to air and unnecessary nutrient losses.
Keep edible skins on when you can, but be sure to scrub them clean to eliminate as much dirt and residue as possible.
Rinse your veggies to clean them, but don’t soak them, as water soluble B vitamins and vitamin C can leech out of the veggies and into the water, eventually just going down the drain.
Cook veggies in their whole form or cut into large chunks (versus small) to reduce exposed surface area (for example, a whole potato will retain more nutrition than a mashed potato).
Minimize when it comes to time, temperature, and amount of liquid used. Longer cook times, higher temperatures, and excess liquid result in a depletion of nutrients. A quick steam minimizes time and temperature, and with a steamer basket or rack, the veggies don’t even touch the water.
If you must submerge your veggies, keep it quick and use as little liquid as possible. Some water soluble vitamins will still be lost in the mix, but if you save that liquid for use in soups or to cook quinoa or rice, you’ll get some of those nutrients back as part of
If you suffer from hypothyroidism or iodine deficiency, eating cruciferous veggies (broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens) in their raw forms may exacerbate your health issues due to their goitrogen (thyroid disrupting) compounds. You don’t have to completely avoid these amazing foods, however, you just need to give them a good steam or stir fry, as cooking helps to minimize their thyroid inhibiting effects.
Organic Food Bar(TM) Active Greens (organicfoodbar.com) is packed full of organic fruits and veggies, including broccoli, carrots, blueberries, raspberries, and dates. Active Greens is an optimal energy food for athletes who want to add organic fruits and vegetables to their diet—without sacrificing taste.