The New Year has begun and we are in the midst of “get right for the summer” season. Many of us are eating healthy, working out and doing all the right things—we think. When it comes to foods, we tend to think eating raw fruits and vegetables is the best way to get all of nature’s goodness. However, there are things that we can do to maximize the nutritional value of the fruits and vegetables we eat. Here are three tips to live by:
1. Cook your tomatoes, do not eat them raw. Tomatoes provide us with lycopene, the fat soluble that helps absorb good nutrients into our bodies and prevents the toxins from entering. Lycopene has other tremendous benefits to include cancer prevention and anti-aging effects. Studies have shown that the lycopene in tomatoes are increased once the tomatoes are actually cooked. Cooking tomatoes in olive oil increases its benefits and tastes good too.
2. Eat your strawberries whole, do not slice them. Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C, but once they are sliced and exposed to light and oxygen, they lose approximately 10% of its vitamin C content. For maximum benefit, store your fresh whole strawberries in the refrigerator or freezer.
3. Raw fruits and vegetables are not always better. Unless you have your own organic farm in your backyard, there is no guarantee that you are getting the freshest produce with the maximum amount of nutrients. Believe it or not, frozen fruits and vegetables pack the most amounts of nutrients because they were frozen at their freshest state. As fruits and vegetables age, the nutrients begin to break down and the nutritional value declines. So the best way to get the most out of your broccoli, green beans, peas or any other vegetable is to buy them frozen and steam them before eating.
These are just a few tips to eating fresh produce. It is best to research eat food you eat to determine the best way to maximize its nutritional value. If you eat fresh fruits and vegetables and make these small modifications, a huge difference can be made in your overall health.
And one more tip for my fellow wine drinkers—wine, especially red wine, is a great antioxidant packed with nutrients, but if you leave your wine bottle open for over 12 hours, you are letting all these great properties escape. So keep a lid it, it does not need to breath.