Eating healthy and making better food choices doesn’t always mean that you’re totally benefitting from the nutrients in your foods. However, here are some valuable tips on eating to maximize nutrient absorption to get all you can from your food.
Although you may be proud of yourself for eating more fresh vegetables and fruits, including organic produce, you can do better to maximize nutrient absorption by shopping for them locally grown like a farmer’s market or plucking them from your own garden. If you live within driving distance of a farm, they often have a store or opportunities to pick your own fruits at certain times of the year. The reason this makes a difference is because once produce is harvested and parted from the earth, it begins losing nutrients.
Those fresh fruits and vegetables you normally shop for at your grocery store could have lost anywhere from 10 to 60 percent of their overall food value, depending on the variety by the time you buy them. This rapid deterioration happens within three days of the produce being harvested. Therefore, your best bet is eating those fresh fruits and vegetables sooner than later if you intend to benefit most from nutrients.
While freshly harvested produce may be best, the truth is that getting access year round to them is not always possible depending on the region of the country you live and the seasons. Being the case, another option is using frozen fruits and vegetables. The reason is because of how the produce is flash-frozen quickly after being picked.
Raw produce doesn’t always maximize nutrient absorption as you may have believed. For example, cooking produce like tomatoes and carrots is actually the ideal way to coax more antioxidants like lycopene and beta carotene from cell walls that were binding those nutrients in. Mushrooms, asparagus, and spinach also release more nutrients to enhance food value when cooked. Yet, the cooking process matters in how to utilize the power of those nutrients. Forget boiling and concentrate on steaming or sauteing produce.
You can also improve your odds for maintaining more nutrients from raw food like garlic and onions by dicing or crushing instead of just chopping or slicing to release the alliinase, which has plenty of organosulfur compounds for helping many health conditions.
A trick that I use for garlic is using the back of a butcher knife to press down on the clove. This helps the peel shrug off and makes it easier to dice. You can even use a jar bottom or a cup to press down and crush the garlic. Either form releases the peel.
Another way to maximize nutrient absorption of fresh produce can be by using a blender. The blade’s chopping action can also help break down cell walls.
There is still more that you can do to help with absorption by how you pair your foods together. For instance, brown rice with beans makes a complete protein. Learn to balance the vitamins in your foods when eating ones that have a lot vitamin A, D, and E properly by countering with healthy fats or nuts for better absorption.
Trying to eat healthy and maximizing nutrients may take more effort, but it is worth it when your health is at stake.