Due to poor agricultural practices and excessive processing, the food that ends up on our plate is typically a shadow of its former self in regards to nutritional content. To ensure you get the most nutrition out of your food, focus on buying unprocessed whole foods, and use the following 4 methods to expand their nutritional benefits.
Fermenting foods could be one of the most economical and powerful ways to introduce incredible nutrition to your body. Fermenting is simply a culturing process that produces beneficial bacteria that are very important in maintaining a healthy gut flora balance. Introducing them to your diet will improve the function of your digestive and immune system, your liver, and your brain!
As an example, sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) is a source of many nutrients including:
- Vitamin B1, B6, and B9
- Vitamin C and K
- Manganese, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron
However, even more important is the amount of live probiotics and enzymes in unpasteurized sauerkraut, which makes these nutrients highly bioavailable to the human body.
Another great way to get more nutrition on a daily basis is by juicing fruits and vegetables. Although this doesn’t provide more nutrition, it does allow you to eat more fruits and vegetables and reach the recommended amount of servings each day with relative ease.
Not only that, but juicing makes the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in produce much easier to assimilate. With the sad state of digestive systems today, there are varying limitations on what the digestive system can absorb, but juicing helps bypass that problem by liberating key nutrients from the tough plant cell walls for you so you get the most out of your fruits and vegetables.
These two cooking methods are perfect for preparing a lazy meal after a hard day’s work. Although boiling or steaming can alter the nutritional composition of your food, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Several studies have shown that while cooking can degrade some nutrients, it can enhance the availability of others. A study published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” in January 2008 found that boiling helped increase the antioxidant content of vegetables such as carrots, zucchini and broccoli.
Blending is a lot like juicing. The only difference here is that you’ll be getting more dietary fiber. If you suffer from constipation or inconsistent stool, blending might just be what you need.
It’s a great way to combine more beneficial ingredients that don’t otherwise go together to create an incredibly nutritious snack or meal. For example, creating a superfood smoothie can deliver a massive array of nutrients in about 5 minutes preparation time. Blending also allows you to make incredibly nourishing and easily digestible vegetable soups.
sources: ScientificAmerican, NN, Detoxinista, SproutPeople, JAFC