maximize nutrients from fruits and vegetables

8 tips: how to maximize nutrients from fruits and vegetables


Here at ProcuraMed we are big fans of fruits and vegetables, essential for good health. To help you maximize the vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant benefits, here are some tips.

Fresh best, then frozen

The fresher the vegetables and fruits, the more vitamins and minerals they will have. When you can, buy the ones that are produced locally and in season, so they are less likely to have lost nutrients during transport or storage.

If you can’t eat them fresh, buy frozen, or freeze them yourself. Freezing, especially if done soon after harvesting, typically retains 95% of the nutrient content. Vitamin C is more fragile when frozen, losing 30% of its value. Still, freezing is your best bet for all fruits and vegetables that you can’t eat fresh.

Canned is acceptable alternative

If you can’t eat them fresh or frozen, vegetables in a can are an acceptable alternative. Use the nutrient-rich water in the can as well. One caution: check the label to make sure there is not a high sodium or sugar content in the can you are considering.

Decrease cooking time

For most foods, cooking for longer times or at higher temperatures will destroy some of the nutrients. Cooking with the lid on to reduce evaporation, and try cooking them less, so they have a crunchier texture and retain more nutrition.

Save the water

Water-soluble vitamins such as B and C dissolve into the water you cook in, so it’s best to use minimal water, and steam or stir-fry the vegetables (in olive oil best). If you can, use the cooking water for soups or sauces. 

Keep the peel

Many foods concentrate their nutrients in or near the peel, so avoid peeling carrots, apples, pears, and potatoes. Scrub them well before using to cut down on the pesticides.

Avoid unneeded chopping

Chopping vegetables exposes more surface area to the air, light, heat, and water, which causes some nutrient loss. If you need to chop your vegetables, do that right before cooking, and minimize the chopping. Also, don’t buy vegetables already cut up. They are more expensive and less nutritious. (One exception is onions, garlic, and leeks, which will release more nutrients if chopped and allowed to sit for 10 minutes before cooking.)

Keep them cool

Most fruits and vegetables retain more nutrients if kept cool with less air contact. A good general rule is to keep vegetables (not tomatoes) in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator.

Use it all 

Many people cut off the roots, tops, and stems of vegetables, such as carrot or radish tops or beet leaves. In most cases, these parts are nutritious as well (particularly beet leaves), so don’t throw them away. Eat them, or use them as a base for soups or stews.

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See also in ProcuraMed:

How to improve your internal microbiome

Oats: 8 reasons why it is a superfood

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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