How to prepare healthful foods for maximum nutrient value
When it comes to healthy eating we all know what’s good for us. A balanced diet, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, not too many treats or sugary snacks. But, do you know how to maximise the nutritional benefits of the healthy food you are already eating?
Well, apparently, it’s all in the preparation.
Here are some healthful suggestions of ways you can prepare food to extract maximum nutritional value for your body.
There are many health advantages to eating raw vegetables. Cooking can destroy essential nutrients, including vitamin C and vital enzymes. The consumption of raw cruciferous vegetables is believed to provide the body with cancer fighting benefits. Vegetables recommended for raw eating include broccoli, kale, cauliflower, watercress, brussel sprouts and cabbage.
If the thought of eating raw vegetables holds limited appeal, a light cooking method, such as steaming, might be a more palatable option.
Steaming is a cooking method known to minimise the loss of nutrients from vegetables. Perfectly steamed vegetables are brightly coloured and tender-crisp, not mushy or dull.
Vegetables can be steamed over boiling water, or in a microwave. The quick cooking time of microwave steaming ensures vegetables retain maximum levels of nutritional value.
The best vegetables to steam include broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, artichokes, zucchini and green beans. Healthful leafy greens like baby bok choy, spinach and Chinese broccoli all steam up nicely in a very short time.
Any vegetables left over from steaming can be used in a healthy green smoothie.
Green smoothies are being hailed as the latest super source of nutritional goodness. They are easy to digest, keep you hydrated, increase your energy, get your skin glowing and pack a powerful punch of immune boosting enzymes.
You can whizz up a green smoothie in your blender using spinach, lettuce, kale, cucumber and apple. Include ice blocks, a dash of coconut water and a little bit of ginger, pineapple or mango for added buzz. It’s fun to experiment until you find your favourite combination.
Healthy Green Juice Recipe
2 green apples halved
4 stalks celery, leaves removed
6 leaves kale
½ lemon peeled
Process all ingredients through a juicer or blender and enjoy.
No longer content with being plain and raw, the humble nut has been elevated to the next level of healthful eating by becoming activated!
Activating nuts is said to enhance powerful anti-oxidants, improve flavour and make nuts easier to digest.
Activated nuts can be expensive to purchase, but you can activate your own nuts by trying this recipe at home.
Time: 12-24 hrs soaking + up to 24 hrs drying
2 cups raw almonds* (not roasted or salted)
enough water to cover the almonds in a dish
sea salt or garlic salt or tamari (optional)
*You can use other nuts, too. Try brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, hazelnuts or pistachios.
Soak the almonds in the water for 12 hrs. If you’re using soft nuts, like cashews or pistachios, shorten soaking time to 4-6 hrs.
Rinse the nuts under running water, and add flavour if you wish. Shake a couple of teaspoons of flavour over the wet (rinsed) almonds, and stir to combine well.
To ‘roast’ the almonds, without damaging all those nutrients you’ve activated, dry out the nuts on low heat – either in a dehydrator or on the lowest possible oven temperature. Drying time depends on the temperature you’re using and can take between 6 and 24 hours. The nuts will be ready when they feel (and taste) dry.
Store your activated nuts in an airtight container.
It’s important to eat a variety of vegetables but, if you are removing the skin, you might just be peeling away highly beneficial fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Potatoes, cucumber, carrots, kiwi fruits and stone fruits are all best left unpeeled to preserve maximum nutrient value. Remember to thoroughly wash all unpeeled fruits and vegetables before consuming them.
Of course, any vegetables with bitter tasting outer skin, or a thick peel that is difficult to digest, are best peeled before eating.
Are you ready to take your healthy eating choices to the next level and try these healthful food preparation tips for maximum nutrient value at home?