In this era when the consumption of pastry foods and junks is on the rise, one or two servings of vegetables/week which remains the only source of vitamins and minerals for many has been made to lose most of its nutritional values, if not all. No wonder the immune system of many Nigerians continues to fail them at the slightest invasion of bacteria infections resulting in illnesses.
Aside from the fact that such single or double servings of vegetables/week are low, many housewives and cooks have only provided good looking vegetable soups to their families as against a more nutritious one. For me, I have come to realize that it is much more important to consume a less delicious food which is well loaded with nutrients than to funnel into my system a delicious meal with no or low nutrients. It is what actually prompted this article on how to maximize the nutrients in your vegetables.
Sliced or chopped leafy vegetable from market presents an avenue for a near-complete loss of nutrients even before preparation. As everyone would rinse or wash the chopped leaves once they are ready to cook, the broken cell walls of the leaves give way for loss of nutrients since the vegetable will be drained from the added water.
How To Know That You Should Not Chop Vegetables In The Market
A simple experience will surprise you. Buy both un-chopped and chopped leafy vegetables from the market. Rinse both vegetable types in the same quantity of water to clean. Pour the water drained out in both samples into different transparent glass cups.
You will see that the chopped leafy vegetable has darker drained water compared to the un-chopped one. A clear indication of a significant loss of phytochemicals and nutrients even before cooking.
A further experiment on the matter!
I would even ask you to take the experiment further buy buying vegetables in the market, ask the vendor to chop the for you and buy another fresh vegetable, leave uncapped and take home. When you get home, chop this vegetable and clean it with water.
Do the same for the one you chopped in the marker and do the clear glass-drained water experiment above. You will get a similar result as the one above, an indication of the loss of phytochemicals.
Have you ever wondered how clean the chopping board of these vegetable sellers are? That is completely left for you to judge. In most cases the chopping board is left outside over night for goats, insects and dogs to play with, only for them to resume the next evening, dust the board, maybe just clean with some water and start using for customers.
If vegetables are chopped with these kinds of boards, the sliced leafy vegetable becomes easily contaminated. No wonder many are faced with serious diarrhea after eating vegetable soups. Clearly, one cannot generalize in this matter but some of these vendors do it that way — and sometimes, it is hard to tell which is which.
The best option for you and your family is to buy these vegetable leaves un chopped, rinse them properly and have them chopped or sliced by yourself. Yes, you might not be as perfect in slicing the veggies as the market women but over time you can only get better. Remember, this is simply an action done for improved nutrition and you will definitely be better for it.