In every health and food blog, we read about the health benefits of fruits and vegetables produce for our body, but rarely do we hear about how to eat them.
Considered as common knowledge, the crucial fact about properly preparing certain foods is often overlooked or undermined.
Thinking we’ll get everything we need by eating certain foods in whatever manner we find most appealing is often the reason why we do not see the positive effects we are hoping for.
To reap the most benefits of every food, we need to prepare it in a way that unlocks its full potential.
Here is a shortlist of 10 well-known healthy foods and the right way to eat them.
Delicious, sweet and juicy, strawberries are everyone’s favorite fruit, especially knowing that they are rich in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. They are amazing eaten raw, but we often cut them to make a fruit salad or to preserve them. That actually lowers their beneficial properties. Many healthy nutrients and vitamin C are sensitive to oxygen, so to get the full benefits of strawberries and similar vitamin C rich foods. You should delay cutting them as much as possible, and the best way to preserve them for the off-season is to freeze them.
The best way to eat most fruits and vegetables is in their raw form, yet some of them require cooking. The not-very loved, yet highly healthy broccoli is often boiled, roasted, or even tried to make it more bearable to eat. But, after being subjected to that, it has already lost most of its nutrients. It might be bland and boring, but to give your body a full load of vitamin C, chlorophyll, antioxidants, and anti-carcinogenic substances found in broccoli, you must stick to steaming them.
There’s not much to prepare in a ready product like the low-fat, probiotic-rich Greek yogurt, except opening the lid and digging in. But, there is one thing you might be doing wrong, and that is throwing away the water accumulated on the surface of the yogurt. That which we consider excess liquid is actually called whey, and it contains proteins, vitamin B12, calcium, and phosphorus. Make sure to stir that liquid into the yogurt next time. Also, when cooking with Greek yogurt, you still get the vitamins and minerals, but you lose the probiotic benefits.
More and more people are choosing tea over coffee, for their antioxidants and cardio-protective effects, and black tea has the best concentration of the polyphenols catechins. There are many references to drinking tea, and putting milk or cream in it is one of them. While creaming black tea doesn’t affect the antioxidants, but it negates any cardiovascular benefits since the proteins from the milk bind with the catechins in tea, making the compounds more difficult to absorb. Another tip: cut the sugar. The tea might be bitter, but that’s what makes it good.
No meat is better than a one prepared on a barbecue over an open flame. Unfortunately, that dramatically increases the cancer risk of the food. By cooking the meat with high-temperature methods, like char-grilling, you are releasing the potentially cancer-causing chemicals stored in the meat. For a proper and safe way to cook your meat, always use a meat thermometer to gauge the safe minimum internal temperature of the meat while cooking.
High fiber content, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and lignans with cancer-protecting properties are all packed and locked in these small flax seeds. You might have been eating them raw, putting hand-fulls of them in smoothies or yogurts, but you probably haven’t received any of the benefits they offer. Doe to their small size and protective outer layer, flax seeds most certainly go through our body without being processed. To make sure that the body processes and absorbs every single health benefit from flax seeds form the habit of eating them in powder form or ground.
Asparagus is another vegetable rich in vitamin C (among other health benefits), and the fastest way to prepare it is by microwaving it or boiling it. Both ways are wrong. With these methods, you are either destroying or throwing away most of the nutrients of the asparagus. Steaming it may be a bit more tiresome, but it is the best way to get all you can from it. The vegetable needs to be cooked until it’s tender and crisp, rather than mushy and soft. Also, there are still vitamins and minerals left in the water from the boiled asparagus, so instead of throwing it away, use it for preparing other meals.
Whole Grains And Beans
We all know that whole grains are a good source of fiber and have many health benefits, but those who contain antioxidant compounds called phytates, actually prevent the body from absorbing vitamins and minerals because it binds to them. To release the phytates found in whole grains that have an outer layer (the bran) should be left to soak overnight. Throw out that water and continue cooking the grains and beans in fresh water. This soaking process also helps you get the maximum amount of nutrients like iron and zinc while leaving less work for your digestive system. However, this doesn’t apply to semi-refined or unhulled types like pearled barley or instant oats.
While the effects of vitamin C diminish when exposed to air, the cancer-fighting enzyme allicin found in garlic actually becomes stronger by it. To get this compound fully activated, you need to chop the garlic and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Afterward, use it in whatever dish you are making, knowing your body will reap the full benefits of this strong-smelling food.
Fresh tomatoes tossed in a salad, or a sandwich gives out a burst of flavor and freshness that makes the dish that much more delicious. Tomatoes are more than juicy vegetables. They also contain cancer- and heart-disease-fighting substance lycopene, and the best way to make sure your body absorbs it completely is by cooking the tomatoes. Tomatoes can be prepared using all cooking methods, but you’ll get the most of them if heated to about 190 degrees Fahrenheit. This even helps increase the already high content of antioxidants in the tomatoes.
Try incorporating these tips the next time you eat these foods. You’ll be surprised by the difference.