Several food studies from the 1990s through to the 2000s indicate that more needs to be done about the average American diet. Already, 37% of the adult population eat fast foods daily, while a third of people are obese. Again, 80% of the population admit to not eating fruits and vegetables as they should. Perhaps, it’s good news that more households are engaged in fruits and vegetable gardening. This means they get to eat what they plant. If this subject interests you, learn more about it here.
1. Make a conscious effort to eat certain foods raw
Some foods have nutrients that dissolve quickly in water and lose most potency when exposed to heat. For this reason, make a conscious effort to eat most of these foods in their raw state. Some examples are sunflower seeds, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, spinach, etc. Nutrients like folate, Vitamins B1, B5, and C are heat sensitive.
Indeed, these foods can be cooked or raw, but the latter is preferable if you want all their beneficial nutrients. All you need to do is ensure they are correctly washed either in brine or diluted vinegar to kill off harmful bacteria. If you cannot withstand their raw taste, slight steaming will do.
2. Pay attention to your cooking methods
Grilling, boiling, and steaming are all effective cooking methods several American nutritionists approve of. That’s because these specific methods of cooking helps preserve essential nutrients in food. Additionally, they don’t make use of trans fat to cook thoroughly. Therefore, instead of preparing your chicken in a deep-fryer, you can cook a whole chicken in your slow cooker to retain essential nutrients without losing out on taste and flavor.
3. Intentionally pair your food to increase nutrient absorption
It was not until the 20th century that food scientists discovered that certain foods, when paired, help release the most nutrients in the body. According to the group, a balanced diet is not only about eating the essential food groups. Instead, it is more about combining certain foods strategically to derive the utmost nutritional value. For example, iron-giving foods are best paired with Vitamin C food items for enhanced benefits.
Therefore, when eating cooked red meat, make a conscious effort to include lentils, spinach, and chili peppers. Better yet, it helps to eat fresh oranges (or freshly-squeezed ones) after your red meat meal. If that seems too much for your stomach, you can squeeze some lemon juice over your meat immediately before eating. Additionally, pair iron with zinc or Sulphur-giving foods. In that case, combine cooked liver with sautéed onions or garlic.
4. Store fruits and vegetables the proper way
Food storage is an easy skill to learn from the internet. The worldwide web contains a wealth of information you can make use of. For instance, all vegetables should be washed and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use them. This, however, does not apply to root veggies like carrots. Instead, dice them up or parboil to be stored for only a short time (3 days maximum) before use.
Except for berries, tomatoes, and avocados, all other fruits can be kept at room temperature. Do not forget to keep them away from a direct light source. Last but not least, chop up your herbs and freeze them in ice cube trays until you need to use them. Knowing these simple kitchen tricks can maximize the nutritional value of the foods you eat.