How could I be eating healthy food wrong? Sometimes just the little things can make a difference. Just a small variation in how you prepare a food can substantially alter its nutritional benefits. I am not talking about a baking potato instead of deep frying it. (A am talking to you french fries and potato chip lovers.) I’m referring to just small changes you can implement that can make healthy foods even better for you.
Broccoli (And Other Cruciferous Vegetables): Steam, Don’t Boil
Broccoli is a natural powerhouse, containing phytonutrients called glucosinolates, which help your body to detoxify. Other vegetables in the same family – such as Brussels spouts, cabbage, kale, and turnips – also provide these benefits.
When you boil your cruciferous vegetables, a lot of their vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants will go down the drain when you pour off the water. Steaming rather than boiling broccoli, and other vegetables, preserves the nutrition value of them.
The water that you have used to steam your vegetables can be frozen and reused later to for a nutritious homemade soup stock.
Garlic: Let It Rest
Garlic really is a super food! Research has shown that garlic consumption helps to lower cholesterol, reduces blood pressure, and may even slow the process of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. As if these benefits where not enough, garlic is also linked with lower risk of developing cancer.
When you crush garlic, you activate allicin – a compound that’s thought to be responsible for garlic’s immune and cardiovascular benefits. The secret is that after you crush your garlic let it sit for at least ten minutes before you cook it.
Whole Grains and Beans: Soak Them First
Whole grains and beans provide fiber, which is necessary for normal digestion and has cardiovascular benefits also. Whole grains and beans have one problem they contain phytates – naturally occurring chemicals that can bind to minerals like iron and them harder for your body to absorb. By soaking grains and beans before you eat them releases the phytates, so they won’t interfere with your nutrient absorption.
Rinsing pre-cooked canned beans washes salt of of them, which is useful if you have high blood pressure.
Flaxseed: Grind It Up
If you are using whole flaxseeds to sprinkle on your cereal, smoothies, and salads they may be passing right through you. They contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids and fiber that benefit your heart and improve your cholesterol levels.
But if you are eating flaxseeds whole, they may be passing right though you, because the tough outer shell is hard to break down. The simple solution? Grind them in a coffee grinder or buy flaxseeds that have been pre-ground. Your body will be better able to absorb the nutrients, so you’ll actually get the benefits you intended when you added the seeds to your meal.
Do you have any other tricks to share that increase the nutritional value of foods? If so, share them with us in the comments below.
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