If you’re getting all your daily nutrients—good job! While it might take a daily multivitamin to get the job done, making sure you get the full range of daily nutrients can help prevent deficiencies, support long term health, and boost your overall feeling of wellness. If you’re eating your nutrients through a varied diet—that’s good too, but you should optimize your preparation to get the most out of the nutrients.
Most people know this: cooking breaks down nutrients. Properly prepared veggies are way more edible than soppy canned veggies, or, for many people, raw veggies, but raw is the way to get the best nutrition (especially the super nutrients like lutein, which protects heart and eye health). The big exception in produce? Tomatoes. Cooking tomatoes actually breaks them down to free the nutrients—so enjoy your pasta with a new sense of purpose. If you want to optimize the tomatoes you eat, choose organic, and cook them yourselves. Tomatoes are thin-skinned, making them more susceptible to pesticides, and canning them potentially adds chemicals (their acidity strips it out of the can lining).
But raw isn’t the end-all of veggie nutrition. According to a new study with spinach, you get the best nutrition by chopping it and eating it with dairy (so a smoothie would be the optimal way to eat it). Researchers compared preparations, from different cooking methods to different ways to eat it raw. Throw in some strong flavored fruit and you won’t taste the spinach (and are likely getting better nutrition off the fruit).
Choose color, smell, and flavor—they indicate that more nutrients are present. Not all soil is the same, so not all produce is the same. Choosing bright colors is one way to find the best produce off sight.
And if it’s taking up too much mental energy, you don’t have time, or your seasonal produce fails you—make sure you’re always getting the right nutrition with a high-quality multivitamin.
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