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5 Ways to Preserve Nutrients in Food

For years there’s been a lot of hubbub about the health benefits of organic foods vs. the “regular stuff” even though there has been no scientific evidence to back up any claims of superiority, but <a title="Salon" href="http://www.salon.com/2014/07/11/new_study_suggests_differences_between_non_organic_and_organic_produce/?utm_source=twitter&amp;utm_medium=socialflow" target="_blank">a new study</a> from Newcastle University, England, may finally put proof in the overpriced pudding. This news, though, belies a larger fact upon which most scientists agree: While organic food may have more antioxidants (the focus of this particular study) there is no evidence that organic food is more nutritious than conventional fare. But, how do we make sure we’re getting the most out of our meals? <strong>1. Eat it raw.</strong> Any kind of cooking at all will impact a food’s nutritional value. The type and duration of cooking makes a difference, of course, but if you want to maximize a food’s health benefit there is no better way than by eating it raw. This is a popular facet of what people call the “Paleo” diet, but you don’t have to go Paleo to reap the rewards. Snacking on raw fruits and vegetables instead of chips and cookies is a great way to incorporate a little Paleo into your diet without going full caveman. <strong>2. Steam it.</strong> A food steamer is a solid and affordable investment that can make meals tastier and healthier. Steamed veggies are the norm, but you can steam all kinds of things: pork, shellfish, fish and chicken can all be steamed to preserve nutrients while adding great flavor. <strong>3. Microwave it.</strong> Many people are under the assumption that microwaving food will leach nutrients from it, but studies show the opposite is true – if you do it right. The trick is to use your microwave like a steamer by cooking items with a little bit of water and by avoiding overcooking. This, <a title="CNN" href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/21/health/upwave-microwaving-food/" target="_blank">say scientists</a>, is actually one of the best ways to preserve nutrients in cooked food. <strong>4. Dress it.</strong> As odd as it may sound, salad dressing can actually help your body absorb more nutrients from your salad. Unfortunately, though, this doesn’t mean we can slather ranch dressing all over our greens and expect that to make it healthier. Nutritionists recommend just a little added fat in the form of dressing because it will help your body better absorb lycopene. Keep in mind, however, that if you’re not having tomatoes – a primary source for lycopene – then the dressing would have no added benefit. <strong>5. Chew it.</strong> It may all be going to the same place, but nutritionists say better chewing can result in better nutrient absorption. BONUS: Eating more slowly will also give your stomach more time to tell your brain when you’re full. Happy eating, and enjoy all those extra nutrients!
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