Healthy eating is not difficult, but it can sometimes be confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with a particular food. The number one priority when fueling your body is to make sure you’re actually getting all the nutrients from the food. The following 10 items are some of the most common foods that require a little something extra to unlock their key nutrients.
· Flaxseeds-these seeds are shockingly full of good things like fiber, omega-3s, and lignans. Our bodies actually have a hard time digesting the whole seed, so to obtain the most nutrients, it is recommended to grind them.
· Black tea-if you often enjoy your tea with milk, you may want to think about trying a plant-based milk instead. Our bodies have a difficult time absorbing the good-for-you plant compounds because the proteins in milk bind with the catechins in tea.
· Broccoli-this miniature tree-like veggie boasts vitamin C, antioxidants, chlorophyll, and anti-carcinogenic compounds. To obtain the most nutrients, steaming these green guys is the way to go.
· Strawberries-resist the urge to wash and chop these berries before you’re ready to eat them. The fiber, antioxidants, and especially vitamin C in the ruby red berry are sensitive to when exposed oxygen and light.
· Garlic-let the clove sit out for around 10 minutes before you toss it into your dish. The cancer-fighting enzyme, allicin, actually likes to be exposed to air.
· Whole grains and beans-both of these contain phytates that can bind to vitamins and minerals and prevent our body from absorbing them. The phytates can be released by soaking intact whole grains and beans in water overnight.
· Yogurt-be sure to give your yogurt a quick stir before digging in. Incorporating the watery substance that often appears on the surface will ensure that you are getting all of the protein, vitamin B12, calcium, and phosphorous that yogurt has to offer. Also, the live and active cultures that occur in yogurt do not do well when heated. So eat it chilled to obtain the most nutrients.
· Tomatoes-this juicy, red fruit contains the phytochemical lycopene, which is best absorbed when the tomato is cooked. But don’t think you have to give up eating them chilled; tomatoes still have a great amount of beneficial nutrients when served at room temperature or cold.
· Grilled meat-nothing says summer like grilling outside. But be aware, meat that is grilled over an open flame might actually increase cancer risk. When meat is chargrilled, it forms two possible cancer-causing chemicals, heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Make sure that you closely monitor and reach the safe internal temperature using a food thermometer.
· Asparagus-even though it may save time, try to avoid using the microwave to cook asparagus. This cooking method depletes the vitamin C content. As an alternative, use the stove to quickly steam or stir-fry until the veggie is tender and still crisp.