We often tend to try eating a variety of raw, home-grown, organic and healthy foods, in a bid to gain the maximum nutrition from out diet. While all that is very well, one food rule does not always apply to everything. Certain types of foodstuff are good eaten raw, while others are best cooked. The cooking method, cooking time and the time taken to break down the minerals and nutrients in the food, also varies vastly.
Here is what you can do to maximize the nutrition content in your food:
· Follow the Farm-To-Table Concept
Eat locally-grown food, ideally as soon as it has been plucked. The longer the foodstuff stays on the market shelf, the more nutrients it loses. Here is where the farm-to-table scores the highest in terms of being healthy.
· Cut, Crush and Cook Right
Not all ingredients behave in the same way. Cutting up fruits and vegetables helps them release their nutrients. Crushing garlic and onions frees their enzymes, optimizing their nutrient value. Soaking beans and certain grains reduces their phytic acid content, which could block your absorption of calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium.
· Know When to Eat Foods Raw
Foods that are sensitive to heat or soluble in water are best eaten raw. Hence, most green leafy veggies, sunflower seeds, peas, bell peppers and such other ingredients are most healthy when eaten raw. Blanching or steaming them helps them retain their nutritional content.
Some foods, on the other hand, are the healthiest when cooked. Plants such as carrots, sweet potato and proteins such as eggs and meat release more nutrients and are more easily digestible while cooked. When you boil foods, all the nutrients of the boiled food is retained in that water. Reuse that water in a gravy or sauce to get the maximum benefit from it.
· Pair Foods for a Balanced Diet
Pair food types in order to maximize the absorption of nutritional content. Combine foods with fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K with dietary fat. That helps you balance your diet on the whole. If you are a heavy meat eater, combine it with plenty of vegetables and salads.
· Store Your Foods Right
Store fruits and vegetables away from heat and bright light. Except root veggies, you can put them all in the refrigerator. You could store your herbs in ice-cube trays and freeze them with water. This helps preserve them to the maximum.