Knowing and preventing the loss of nutrients in your food will optimize your overall nutrition status. Nutrients can be lost prior to purchase, during home storage or in the cooking process. Maintaining good health requires: variety, balance and adequacy of nutrients on a daily basis. The following 8 tips will help assure you get the most nutrition from your food.
- CLEANING YOUR PRODUCE. Water works just fine. Water is 98% effective in removing bacteria an residue. Using a vegetable brush can eliminate the need to peel foods, a nutrient dense portion of the produce.
- FRESH IS BEST. Ever purchase produce that wilts or rots in a few days? Most likely its shelf life began long before your purchase. Add in the time for transportation and not only does it look rotten, to be certain there has loss of nutrients and taste. Summer is a great time to buy Local produce. Locate the nearest farmers market or two and plan weekly visits.
- CSA. COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE. Fresh, local produce, some even offer fresh eggs, poultry etc. Throughout New Jersey and New York, you can support local farmers buy purchasing a share up front. You are supporting local farms and investing in your health with fresh, nutrient rich foods. CSA may not be for everyone, you’ll get a mix of foods, so being flexible and possibly experimental is helpful.
- FROZEN AFTER FRESH. Frozen produce is generally picked and processed immediately. Preserving the freshness and the nutrients. Cooking after freezing will has some nutritional consequences, however, the optimal level of nutrients at harvest give this food choice an advantage. Freezing excess produce from your CSA is also an option.
- ON YOUR SHELF. Now that you have fresh food, how can you keep it fresh. Avoid storing foods in too cold temperature. Refrigerator (temps 35-45) are typically too cold for tropical fruits, tomatoes, squash and eggplants. Only wash berries prior to eating not storing. Berries withstand cooler temperatures, store at 25 degrees. Avoid direct sunlight for all foods and maintain some space between produce to reduce rapid ripening.
- MINIMAL COOKING. Fresh foods may need little or no cooking. A quick steam is best, grilling or roasting, at low temperatures and avoid direct contact with flames.
- WHAT ABOUT ORGANIC. Research favors reduction of our exposure to food pesticides and chemicals. Sounds simple enough, but what happens when organic food is shipped 1300 to 2000 miles? We lose the freshness. You can have both, organic and local in many cases, or make some choices. Moderation has it’s place here too!
- FERMENTED FOODS FOR GUT HEALTH. In addition to the health benefits of fresh foods, consider fermented foods. Fermented foods have been shown to improve gut health by boosting the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Fermented pickles, garlic, beets, and naturally fermented foods: kefir, yogurt, tempeh, soy sauce and kimchi. Extra veggies from the garden, CSA box or farmers market? Preserve their healthful benefits by fermenting, store for the winter. Yes, I know its only June!!!
HAPPY SUMMER EVERYONE.
MUCH GRATITUDE FOR OUR BEAUTIFUL,
BOUNTIFUL SUMMER HARVEST!