You do everything you can to eat healthily. You shove fruits and vegetables into your mouth with abandon and you even try to include the latest superfoods into your daily diet (to your partner’s dread).
But there are some things you might be doing that will sabotage all of your hard work. Yep, believe it or not, there are unhealthy ways to eat even the most good-for-you items. Everything from slicing it to boiling it can wreak havoc on its nutritional makeup and chemical composition.
So grab your fork and knife and learn about some of the surprising ways you’re probably eating the most common health foods incorrectly.
These precious pods are packed with all sorts of healthy good things, like omega-3s, fibre and phytochemicals (which prevent cancer), but if you’re eating them whole you won’t reap any of those nutritional benefits. Because our digestive tracts have a hard time breaking down seeds, you’ll want to give your body a bit of help by grinding them up before you eat them. From there, you can sprinkle them onto salads or into smoothies.
Who would’ve thought that slicing strawberries could be so damaging? According to a 2011 Brazilian study, the vitamin C in the fruit begins to break down when exposed to light. That means if you’re cutting the berries before chewing them, you’re slicing their nutritional value in half. The same study found storing these nutritional powerhouses in the fridge will ensure they stay fresher and healthier, longer.
Most people shy away from the frozen food aisle because they think there’s little to no nutritional value in most of the products. That’s not necessarily true, especially when it comes to produce. A recent study from the United Kingdom found that frozen veggies and fruits may pack a more powerful nutritional punch than fresh ones; that’s largely because they’re frozen immediately after harvesting, a time when their nutritional value is highest.
Broccoli and Asparagus
These green wonders are often touted as superhuman foods, containing healthy ingredients like fibre, antioxidants and a bevy of vitamins and minerals. All that goodness could go out the window, though, if you microwave or boil them instead of steaming them. According to research, cruciferous vegetables (like these two, as well as kale and cauliflower) release a particular cancer-fighting compound when steamed slowly (high heat kills the enzyme along with other vitamins like A and C). Even crazier is the water that’s leftover from steaming these veggies is nutrient-rich. Naturopaths and nutritionists often recommend making soup out of the liquid or freezing it in an ice tray and using the cubes in mixed drinks.
The British have gotten a few things right over the years, but not when it comes to tea. There’s an increasingly large body of evidence that suggests milk may decrease the antioxidant value of the beverage. The cow’s product may even affect the body’s absorption of other minerals found in black and green varieties. Skip milk entirely and just add honey or lemon juice to sweeten the beverage.
That gross watery layer of goo that sits on top of yogurt is actually quite nutritious. Though it’s disgusting to look at, the ick is packed with everything from protein to vitamins and minerals (read: calcium). If you’re ditching it instead of mixing it into the rest of the product, then there’s no real point in even eating yogurt.
Skip the slicing and get to crushing! Research shows that the cancer fighting and immune-system boosting compound found in this stinky herb is only released when a bulb is crushed, not sliced.
Sommeliers may tell you to let that beautiful bottle of red breathe before you consume it, but science shows oxygenation of the beverage begins as soon as something is uncorked. If you leave the drink exposed to air for too long, the heart-healing antioxidants and polyphenols begin to break down. To take advantage of a glass of red’s best properties, drink it sooner rather than later. Not that we have to tell you twice.
Now, go spread this knowledge! Your friends will appreciate it.