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3 Ways You're Ruining Your Vegetables

Ok, so it's midway through January. You've come up with a health plan that, so far, is working swimmingly well for you. You're exercising on a regular basis and, everytime you go to the grocery store, you manage to make it out, sans the economy-sized bag of double fudge cookies and two-for-one pints of rocky road ice cream. Success! Furthermore, you spend the majority of your time (and your money) in the produce aisle- you fill your cart with carrots and broccoli and lettuce and apples instead of with chips and cookies and ice cream. You're off to a great start... Or so you thought. Here's the issue, though: oftentimes, what we do with the vegetables actually depletes them of their nutritional value. Here are a few ways that you could be ruining your veggies, as well as some healthier alternatives:

#1: You overcook them. 

We've all done it; we forget about the broccoli steaming on the stove, and before we know it, we're left with a steaming pile of green, cruciferous mush. It's less than appetizing and, even worse, overcooking veggies can actually deplete them of most or all of their beneficial nutrients (aka- why we eat them in the first place). In order to avoid losing the good stuff out of your produce, try to avoid boiling it, as this generally leeches all of the vitamins and minerals out and into the water. Consider stir-frying or just a quick blanche, instead. 

#2: You overdo it on the cooking oil. 

What you're choosing to cook your vegetables in has a huge impact on their nutritional value. While some oils are heart-healthy and are good options for use in cooking, others such as sunflower seed oil and canola oil can "oxidize at high heats and become toxic", according to Frank Lipman, MD, an integrative and functional medicine physician, founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, and author of The New Health Rules. Instead, when stir-frying or roasting vegetables, choose something more heat tolerant such as grass-fed butter or extra virgin coconut oil. 

#3: You're peeling them. 

While it may seem like common sense to peel the skins off of carrots, potatoes, parsnips, cucumbers, etc. before you eat them, the outer skin is generally the part of the vegetable with the highest concentration of beneficial vitamins and minerals. Instead of tossing those nutritional powerhouses down the garbage disposal, leave them in tact for a healthier meal! 


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