Let’s face it, in today’s fast paced world your health is of vital importance to your overall success and ultimate happiness. While you may already know that eating a wide variety of foods can aid in promoting good health, you may not be aware that the manner in which you choose and prepare these foods can have a big impact on the health enhancing nutrients that these foods deliver.
Here are 3 tips that can help you get the most out of the food that you eat and boost your overall micronutrient intake.
Buy Locally Grown Foods
The average carrot travels 1,838 miles to reach your table. Every minute of every mile that your food travels to your table matters because when fresh food is exposed to the elements, it loses vital health producing micronutrients. This affects fresh foods across the board, from carrots to chicken and apples to spinach. Spinach, for example, can lose 47% of its folate (Vitamin B4) and carotenoids in just 4 days, even when kept at a cool 68 degrees. Eating fresh locally grown foods can help ensure that you are getting the highest levels of micronutrients in each bite.
Eat a Salad
Eating a salad is a great way to ensure you get at least one raw meal a day, and raw foods are better when it comes to high micronutrient levels. Why? Cooking food can deplete vital nutrients. Some even say that the most nutrient packed part of a boiled vegetable may be the water it was boiled in! A study done in Spain measured the level of flavonoids (a type of health producing antioxidant) that remained in broccoli after it was cooked by four popular cooking methods: steaming, pressure-cooking, boiling and microwaving. The authors found that high pressure-cooking led to a considerable 47% loss, conventional boiling led to a 66% loss and microwaving the broccoli proved catastrophic with a 97% loss of flavonoids compared with fresh, raw broccoli. If you prefer your food cooked, stick with steaming since it’s the best cooking method for micronutrient retention.
Steer Clear of Energy Dense, Nutrient Poor (EDNP) Foods
EDNP foods, as the name implies, are foods that are high in calories (energy), but low in overall nutrients (like chips, soda, doughnuts, candy, french-fries and ice cream). While a treat is always acceptable (and suggested!), the problem is when EDNP foods are eaten in place of (rather than in in addition to) healthy, nutrient dense foods. For many Americans, 30% of calories come from EDNP foods, which can lead to long-term nutrient deficiencies and poor health. Instead, try to fill up with health promoting, nutrient dense foods and save your EDNP foods for treats.
Follow these three simple tips so you can effortlessly increase the essential nutrients your body needs everyday to keep you healthy and happy. Bon-appetite!