10 Ways You're Making Vegetables Less Nutritious

The ancestors of our modern day vegetables were far more nutritious than those we find in the produce section today. Modern day veggies tend to be much sweeter, less fibrous and contain more starch than vegetables that grew centuries ago. Vegetables are a huge source of phytonutrients, which are powerful antioxidants. To fully absorb these phytonutrients that give us internal protection, we might need to modify the way we use vegetables in our cooking. The Kitchn published this list with 10 ways we are cooking our vegetables out of all their nutrients!

>> Click here to see some foods you are probably eating wrong.


Buying fresh tomatoes instead of canned: Cooking tomatoes makes them more nutritious, and the longer you cook them, the better. Heat changes the lycopene into a form our bodies can more readily absorb and — surprise! — canned tomatoes are much higher in phytonutrients, thanks to the heat of the canning process. Tomato paste, being more concentrated, is even better.

Storing lettuce wrong: You might think that damaging your vegetables before storing them is a mistake, but when it comes to lettuce, tearing the leaves triggers a protective blast of phytonutrients that you can take advantage of by eating the greens within a day or two. Lettuce that is torn before storing can have double the antioxidants of whole lettuce leaves.

Boiling spinach — or any vegetable really: You may have heard that boiling vegetables is a no-no because water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C leach out of the food and into the cooking water, but you might not know that boiling also reduces the antioxidant content. The difference in spinach is especially dramatic: After 10 minutes of boiling, three-quarters of its phytonutrient content is in cooking water, not in the vegetable itself. (Of course, if you consume the cooking liquid, as you do when making soup, you consume all the nutrients in the water as well.)

Steaming, microwaving, sautéing, and roasting — cooking methods that don't put vegetables in direct contact with water — result in more nutritious vegetables on the plate.

Eating your salad with fat-free dressing: We've known for a few years that you absorb more of the nutrients in salad when you eat it with fat, but the type of fat can make a difference. Most commercial salad dressings use soybean oil, but extra-virgin olive oil is much more effective at making nutrients available for absorption. Unfiltered extra-virgin olive oil is even better, as it contains double the phytonutrients of filtered.

fat-free dressing

Cooking garlic right after chopping it: If you mince a clove of garlic and quickly throw it in a hot pan, you consume almost no allicin, the beneficial compound that makes garlic such a health star. That's because the enzyme that creates allicin is not activated until you rupture the cell walls of the garlic — and is quickly inactivated by heat. Just two minutes in a hot pan or 60 seconds in the microwave reduces the allicin in just-chopped garlic to almost nothing.

Letting the chopped garlic sit for 10 minutes before exposing it to heat gives the enzyme time to do its work, so your finished dish contains the maximum amount of allicin. Using a garlic press is even better than mincing, as it releases more of the compounds that combine to create allicin.

Want to see more? Click here for the original article from The Kitchn!


Or check out this Skinny Mom story: Fresh or Not? How Long Do Veggies Stay Good?