Ways to make your meals healthier!Created by:
- Know what to eat raw and what to eat cooked
Raw or cooked, all vegetables are nutritional powerhouses. However, the way in which they're prepared can impact on the nutritional bang you get for your buck.Vitamin B1, vitamin B5, folate, and vitamin C are all sensitive to heat, so more of these vitamins are present when you eat certain foods raw. For this reason, broccoli, spinach, kale and peppers contain more nutrients when eaten in their natural, uncooked state. On the other hand, some nutrients become more readily available to the body when they are cooked. For example, cooking vegetables rich in beta-carotene (sweet potatoes, squash and carrots) and tomatoes makes these nutrients more easily absorbable to the body.
- Combine your foods to boost nutrient absorption
Tomatoes and olive oil - Lycopene, the powerful cancer-fighting antioxidant in tomatoes that gives them their bright red colour, is best absorbed by the body when combined with a healthy fat such as olive oil. It has also been shown that lycopene is more efficiently absorbed and utilised by the body in processed tomato products, such as tomato puree and tomato paste.
Spinach and lemon juice - By giving your leafy greens a generous squeeze of lemon before serving, you are making the iron they contain more bioavailable to the body. The presence of vitamin C enhances iron absorption from plant sources by up to six times.
Turmeric and black pepper - This bright-yellow Indian spice contains an active component called curcumin, which has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Black pepper contains a compound called piperine that helps the body absorb 1000 times the curcumin. Sprinkle both generously onto your veggies, or combine in a curry.
Eggs and avocado - As well as being a match made in heaven taste-wise, the good fats in avocado enhance the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamin D found in eggs. As a general rule, always consume foods containing fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) with a source of fat (e.g. olive oil, butter, avocado or nuts).
- Know when to choose organic
Eating organic only is, for many of us, impractical and prohibitively expensive.
Do remember that the health benefits of eating a diet plentiful in fruits and vegetables outweigh the potential risks of pesticide residues. So definitely don't stop eating strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers if you can't source them organically.