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Maximizing Your Food's Nutrition

By Donna Kostiew

Making sure that you include plenty of fruits and veggies in your diet isn’t too hard to accomplish, as there are plenty of options available in the grocery store. But if you’re going to put forth the effort to shop for, prepare, and include them in most of your meals, make sure that you are using them in a way that will help to deliver as many nutrients and health benefits as possible.

There is a Better Way

Don’t get me wrong. As long as you aren’t covering your fruits and veggies in sugar and sauces, there really is no bad way to eat them. And with the number of nutritional benefits they offer, you would be hard-pressed to find an equal alternative. But there are other health benefits to consuming them in ways you may not have thought about. Let’s look at a few of them here.

  • For the garlic lovers - Garlic is known to have cancer-protective properties that are created after two chemicals in the garlic mix once it is chopped, chewed, or crushed. Unfortunately, this compound that is created can degrade if it is heated too quickly. To prevent that from happening, allow it to sit for 10 minutes before cooking. By waiting these few extra minutes, the maximum amount of this compound can be created and it is able to form a protective barrier from the heat, thereby protecting its cancer-fighting properties. So start chopping your garlic a few minutes earlier than you planned. The taste will remain the same but the health benefits will increase!
  • Refrigerate your cooked potatoes first - Potatoes often get a bad rap for several different reasons, one being their high glycemic content. It is well-known that foods with a high content can affect the body’s blood sugar levels significantly, so this is important to note for many people. Fortunately, there is a way that has been shown to minimize the potatoes’ effect on blood sugar and it all has to do with the timing of consumption. It is suggested to cook them in however way you prefer, to refrigerate them for 24 hours, and then reheat and eat. The process of refrigerating them first causes the starch to break down more slowly which can reduce the impact it has on the body’s blood sugar levels.
  • Put the veggie peeler back in the drawer - The skin of certain fruits and vegetables are often packed with more antioxidants, Vitamin C, and fiber than the actual fruit underneath, so consider leaving their skin on! These include kiwis (yes, kiwis), apples, cucumbers, potatoes, zucchini, and eggplant. Be careful to wash them well though and choose organic if you can.

Hopefully, these few suggestions will inspire you to think about how you can increase the nutritional benefits of the foods you are eating. They aren’t big changes, but they can make a big difference to your health.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Eagan, Minn.

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