Rethink how you eat your veggies
We're always being told to eat our greens, pack our diet full of fruit and vegetables and get much-needed nutrients into our bodies. But while many of us think that pinging a steam fresh bag of veg in the microwave or popping a few florets of broccoli in a pan to go with our dinner will do the job, it turns out that a lot of our storing, preparation and cooking methods of vegetables are actually diminishing their nutritional value. In her new book Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health, journalist Jo Robinson has shared some top tips on how to make sure you are getting the most out of the veggies you eat.
Cook tomatoes for longer
The longer you cook tomatoes for, the more nutritious they become because the heat changes the lycopene within them into a form our bodies can process a lot easier. This means that canned tomatoes have more nutritional benefits than the fresh variety thanks to the cooking and canning process.
Most of us will have heard before that boiling vegetables like spinach is wrong because water soluble vitamins like vitamin C seep out during the process. However Jo reveals that antioxidant levels also lower when boiled. Instead, try steaming, sautéing or roasting your veg to keep it nutritious.
Don't cook chopped garlic straightaway
If you put chopped or minced garlic in a hot pan as soon as you've prepared it, you stand little chance of absorbing any allicin, the beneficial compound that makes garlic such a fundamental part of a healthy diet. This is because it hasn't had chance to activate, so leave it for ten minutes after preparing before putting it on the heat as this will give the enzyme a chance to do its thing.
Cutting carrots before cooking
We're all guilty of this mistake at some point: cutting carrots before cooking them. While it seems like the logical thing to do, cooking them whole, then chopping them into your desired shape helps keep more nutrients in the little orange numbers. Jo adds that cooked carrots are better for you than in their raw form, as it helps break down the cell walls, which means the nutrients are easier to get to.