Tips for Enjoying More Nutritious Fruits and Vegetables
Are you missing key nutrients in your diet? Studies point to the importance of having plenty of fruits and veggies in your everyday meals. But, research also suggests that produce today are less nutritious than they are 50 years ago. Why is that?
The Problem With Growing Fruits and Vegetables Today
Many people have already studied the phenomena of finding decreasing amount of nutrients in fruits and vegetables. But the most popular among them is Dr. Donald R. Davis of the University of Texas in Austin, whose study has been published in HortScience. His most consistent research findings reveal that the greater number of crops grown in a given space, the less nutrients the fruits and vegetables have. The median in the decrease of vitamins, minerals and protein content is about 5 to 40 percent.
The reason behind the decline in nutrients according to experts is two-fold. First is the above-mentioned higher yield per planting area. Second is the fact that the soil has been used over and over again for years, therefore, the soil has become depleted of nutrients. Since the soil has very little, if not zero, nutrients, the crops growing on it also have very little nutrients.
Cherie Calbom, MS, the author of The Juice Lady’s Living Food Revolution, said that the problem at hand is bigger. Because of the poor farming practices, we have depleted soil, sick plants and an increased use of herbicides and pesticides. Things will grow worse unless something is done.
So, does it mean that we should eat less of fruits and vegetables? On the contrary, expert nutritionists still encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables. Eat them cooked and eat them raw. Afterward, we can deal with the problems on growing these crops.
How to Get More Nutrients from Fruits and Vegetables
No matter what the current situation is, there are some things you can do to make sure that you and your family still get the healthy nutrients you all need from your diet.
Buy locally grown produce
When the produce travels only a short distance until it reaches your dining table, most likely you get them real fresh. Less vitamins and minerals are lost along the way. Go and buy at the local farmer’s market or grow the fruits and veggies in your own garden.
Frozen foods are also okay
When we talk about frozen foods, what comes to the mind of some people is that they are less nutritious than fresh products. Well, that is not always true. When you freeze fresh veggies, they actually retain more of the nutrients compared to keeping the produce in their fresh condition after traveling a very long time and distance.
Look beyond the surface
Whenever choosing fruits and vegetables, don’t be tempted to give preference to those that look big and shiny. Chances are they have been sprayed with pesticides. Organic produce may be smaller and not as nice looking, but have minimal pesticide residues.
Chop to a minimum
It is recommended not to finely chop fruits and vegetables when preparing them for meals or dishes. The greater the area that is exposed to the air, the more nutrients is lost from the fruits and vegetables.
Cooking has an effect on the retention of nutrients in fruits and vegetables. Except for tomatoes and some other produce, less cooking time and less amount of liquid are preferred to keep the loss of nutrients to a minimum. Use steaming, stir-frying, blanching and other quick-cooking methods and make sure not to overcook so veggies stay crisp. Eat raw whenever you can.
It might be a bit difficult to find nutritious fruits and vegetables nowadays compared to 50 years ago, but for sure you can find many opportunities to buy fresh produce and seasonal choices at the local farm markets near your area.
Photo credits: Fruits and Vegetables by Honolulu Media via Flickr.com, CC by 2.0