How To Maximise The Nutrients In Your Vegetables

It is no longer news that including two to three servings of vegetable into your daily meals is the way to follow as regards good nutrition. The need for this kick started when the pattern of people’s diet is being monitored and had been found to be void of vegetables which is a super detoxicant. In fact there had been some unhealthy trend recently noticed among others who include vegetables into their diets.

Most of them do not prepare these veggies appropriately such that the nutritive values inherent are not lost. While a few vegetables can be eaten in their raw state, others had to go through some certain food processing before they are ideally edible. It will interest you to note that a meal loaded with vegetables has been found to reduce the risk of debilitating diseases such as heart attacks, high blood pressure and some degenerative cancers due to its abundance in vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytochemicals. The benefits of a vegetable in diets cannot be over emphasized.

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Learn How To Minimize Loss Of Nutrients In Vegetables

There are some vegetables that should be cooked in order to maximize their nutritional benefits while others are quite susceptible to heat especially those containing loads of Vitamin C and some other B Vitamins (Water Soluble Vitamins). If you can identify these vegetables, it will help you identify which you can eat raw and those to subject to low heat treatment.

The argument has been on for a while among nutritionist and food scientists about the best method to adopt. For example, the lycopene in tomatoes is more bioavailable when it is cooked than in its raw state. Also, the beta carotene in carrots becomes more released if it is cooked. While all the water soluble vitamins may have been diminished, other phytochemicals will be released. The best way to ensure retainment of nutrient is to slightly cook them to avoid complete loss of water soluble vitamin while bringing about the release of antioxidants and phytochemicals.

When you cook your vegetables ensure the water is used. For instance, it is better to cook your potatoes in porridge form while utilizing the water since some micro nutrients could have been leached into it. In fact a few others prefer cooking it with the peels after it must have been properly washed. The water is discarded but the peels keep most nutrients within.

For fruity vegetables, juicing them up could be a good idea but one must ensure minimal loss of fiber which is helpful in proper digestion. On the other hand, leafy vegetables should be blanched (placed into hot water 60°C for 45 seconds and scooped out) to enhance release of phytochemical. Mistake should not be made to overcook them as you will completely lose the nutritive values. You should also avoid chopping them before washing. More nutrients will be lost in the dirty water.

Quick Hints On Proper Vegetable Preparation

  • Avoid overcooking them; ensure they still possess their qualities like colour and a bit of crunchiness depending on the vegetable.
  • For most vegetables avoid peeling them if possible. Some micro nutrients are loaded in the peels.
  • When making a pot of vegetable, be certain to cut them all about the same size so they cook up in the same amount of time under low heat.
  • Learn to wash your vegetables immediately after return from market or grocery stores before they are chopped.
  • Blanching is a good method to heat-treat your vegetables in order to make them retain more nutritive values.
  • Cook only vegetables that will be enough for one time servings. If excess remains, keep in a refrigerator not for more than 36hours.

ALSO SEE: Why Don’t You Just Stop Eating Vegetables (Efo)?

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Oladipupo Abioye
Oladipupo is a Pediatric Nutritionist with Lagos State Ministry of Health. He is an adventurous foodie and loves to teach and render presentations on foods and nutritional topics at different symposia. He loves Messi but Chelsea FC is his baby.


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