Did you know it is possible to enhance the nutritional value of foods beyond what it already is? Here’s how:
Every bite you take triggers a series of mechanical and chemical changes. These changes affect the nutritional content of the food and the bioavailability of each nutrient consumed. Bioavailability refers to how food gets absorbed into the body during digestion.
This implies that some nutrients are best available when we eat food in raw form. However, there are some foods whose nutrients are available only when we cook, crush, cut, or eat them with something on the side, so here are a few tips to improve the nutritional value of the foods you consume.
1. Get The Most Nutrition Out Of Food
2. Storing Fruits And Vegetables The Right Way
3. Eating Raw
4. Know Which Foods Are Best When Cooked
5. Consume Strategically To Maximise Nutrient Absorption
6. Animal-Based Vs. Plant-Based Food
7. Monitor Your Tolerance
9. The Final Say
Buying local farm produce has multiple benefits. It is fresh and nutrient-rich. The debate over organic and traditional is a separate issue altogether, but visiting your local farmer’s market to purchase fresh produce will enhance the nutritional value of your everyday meals.
Food preparation basics should be followed to extract more vitamins, minerals and other compounds from foods.
Storing Fruits and Vegetables the Right Way
Make sure to keep the fruits and vegetables at easy access. Fruits and vegetables should be kept from sunlight, oxygen (to avoid oxidation) and heat as these degrade their nutritional value. Here is how you can store the following foods.
Sources of heat-sensitive and water-soluble nutrients should be consumed raw. Vitamin B5, B1, folate and vitamin C break down due to heat. Hence it is advisable to consume foods containing these nutrients raw. For instance, raw spinach has three times more vitamin C than cooked spinach. Sources of vitamin B1: sunflower seeds, peas, beet greens and Brussel sprouts.
Vitamins B and C are water-soluble, so you should cook them in less water and on very low heat to stop the vitamins from getting dissolved and discarded before being consumed.
You can use some methods to preserve vitamins.
Up to 50-55% of nutrients are lost due to cooking. Some foods lose their nutrients in boiling water. But cooking has pros, too; iron and other minerals become more available for absorption. Oxalates are acids that make minerals inaccessible by sticking to foods, and cooking food decreases their presence.
Cooking helps in reducing the amount of cyanide (anti-nutrient) found in beans and grains. Here are some foods that are great when cooked:
One needs to consume the right kind of food to maximise the absorption of the nutrients from meals. Avoid eating frozen foods; frozen broccoli will not taste as fresh and will not provide one with similar nutrients as freshly picked broccoli would. Keep in mind that canning and freezing food also changes the nutrient content. However, fibre will not be affected as much due to such processes.
In most cases, animal-based food has more vitamin and mineral bioavailability than plant-based food. To exemplify, your body would absorb more iron from meat than from a portion of plant-based food.
Nutrients cannot do you much good if you have an undetected food intolerance that keeps you from absorbing them. It can be difficult for everyone to digest raw foods, although they are highly beneficial.
If one has GI symptoms such as bloating, gas or issues with passing stools, consider an elimination diet to figure out what your body cannot tolerate and consult a health professional or seek medical advice. Once you eliminate the foods that hamper you, then you can better enhance your nutrient intake.
Germination is the process of sprouting seeds. You can soak seeds overnight in water. After draining the water the next day, tie the seeds in a loose cotton cloth or bag and hang them. Sprinkle water on the hung pulses twice or thrice a day, and you will see sprouts appearing within 6-8 hours.
This process helps enhance the nutritional value of food. It is a conventional no-heat process that increases nutrient bioavailability in pulses and cereals. It also aids digestion, reduces anti-nutrients, boosts free amino acids and carbs and improves overall functionality.
We can finally say that there are multiple ways to enhance the nutritional value of foods and get the most out of them. Did you know even dark chocolate is nutrient-rich? It is all about moderation and smart eating!
Making these small changes in how you consume foods can make all the difference in the world while providing you with their health benefits. Consuming nutrient-dense food but consuming it the right way will help you reduce the risk of multiple issues and ailments. Try these tips out and see the change yourself!
1. What is blanching, and why is it beneficial?
Blanching refers to the procedure wherein fruits or vegetables are boiled for a certain period and then removed and put into iced cold water. This process helps reduce quality loss in vegetables and fruits over time and helps preserve significant amounts of nutrition.
2. What are some vegetarian/vegan alternatives to animal-based foods with high nutritional value?
Vegetarians can opt for pulses and legumes, dairy products for protein and good fats, omega 3 and fatty acids, and for vegetarians and vegans, nuts and seeds are good options. However, some food groups vegans avoid, like milk and curd, so instead of animal milk, they can opt for oats, almonds and soy milk, and it is products like soy curd.
3. What are the benefits of eating locally grown foods?
Locally grown foods are an excellent source of nutrition. Since they are grown locally, they will reach you at their earliest, ensuring fresh consumption. They would contain large amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Apart from their natural nutritional value, you would also be supporting local farmers around you!
4. What are some methods of cooking that can preserve vitamins and minerals?
The methods that can preserve vitamins and minerals are
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