One of the most popular posts on Hairpin, a lifestyle blog for millennial women, is a collection of stock photos titled "Women Laughing Alone with Salad." The post features pictures of women of all ages tossing and indulging in leafy greens and other raw vegetables.
Now, we're always happy to see people smiling while they're eating vegetables, because those phytonutrient powerhouses are definitely something to be happy about. But how do you prepare them so you can get the most nutritional bang for your bite?
Well, eating a daily combo of raw and cooked veggies delivers the most nutrients and fiber, and helps your body absorb them.
- Steaming, sauteing or roasting (never boil them) carrots, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini, asparagus, cabbage and peppers helps preserve vitamin C. It also boosts the availability of beta carotene and other carotenoids, the building blocks of vitamin A, which is essential for eyesight, bone growth, immune system regulation and more.
- Cooking tomatoes increases the concentration of lycopene, a potent antioxidant that studies indicate may help prevent cardiovascular disease as well as prostate, breast, colon and lung cancers.
- Cooking vegetables in vegetable oil helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E and K. Chopping also helps release the nutrients for better absorption.
- Eating veggies raw protects the vitamin C they contain, but you want to add extra-virgin olive oil, avocado or nuts to them to help your body absorb those fat-soluble vitamins from uncooked produce.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.