Dried, Frozen, Canned: What is Healthiest
By Caroline Rechia • November 27th, 2006 • 5569 Views
In a perfect world we would pick organic, biodynamic in-season foods straight from the tree or out of the ground and eat them immediately to get the most nutrients. But times have changed and most of us are lucky to be able to get to Farmer's Markets once a week for fresh organic produce. Since the vitamins and minerals in foods do start to fade with time, and with exposure to air, light and heat, here's how to optimize your nutrient intake in the modern world.
Vitamins A,C,E,K,and the B vitamins are destroyed by exposure to air, and many nutrients (enzymes, amino acids, vitamins and minerals) are vulnerable to heat. To reduce nutrient loss you can do the following:
- Serve raw vegetables when possible
- Try not to cut fruits or vegetables into small pieces; leave them as intact as possible
- Cook vegetables as soon as possible after cutting and only until they show their brightest colors (when they first begin to soften)
- Cover all refrigerated foods and try to keep in dark places
- Eat food soon after preparation; unfortunately foods can lose up to 50% of their nutrients just sitting in the fridge for a day or two.
Most vegetables and fruits we find on the supermarket shelves, have come a long way in transit and this means even more nutrient loss. To optimize nutrient levels:
- eat fresh, local produce
- try to eat in season
- buy organic meat and produce from a trusted food provider
While eating raw foods may be the best way to preserve their enzymes and vitamins and minerals, eating raw is not for everyone, nor is it always convenient. Cooking and preserving foods has been done for many thousands of years and some ways are better than others.
Hands-down this is the best method for preserving and processing foods. The topic of fermentation deserves its own feature article but briefly, the process of fermentation involves either a bacteria or yeast organism being added to the food to break down some of its components and allows some foods to last longer. Breaking down foods through fermentation can turn off unhelpful enzymes that disrupt our digestion, and it also generates more enzymes and nutrients making the food easier to digest and more nutritious than it was when raw. An example is sauerkraut and cabbage. ...