Advertising

5 Unexpected Ways You Are Making Your Vegetables Less Healthy

5 Unexpected Ways You Are Making Your Vegetables Less Healthy
Advertising

You sneak a quick peak at your latest grocery haul while you’re queuing up at the check-out: your basket’s full of good-for-you greens, everything organic and not a pack of chips or chocolate cookies in sight. If you could give yourself a pat on the back, you would, but your hands are full, so you settle for a knowing smile. This week’s dinners are going to be super awesome, healthy and guilt-free, with all the veggies you’ve got lined up on your menu.

But wait.

As you stock up your fridge with plant power, you wonder if they’ll keep until the end of the week (after all, the flowers you bought 2 days ago are already starting to wilt and brown), and if how you’re cooking them IS in fact, the right way to cook them. Here’s my definitive list of boo boos you could be making with your vegetables, and what you can do to fix them.

Mistake #1: You only eat your vegetables raw

Raw food advocates claim that eating your vegetables uncooked can preserve the phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that they’re rich in, while cooking destroys them. Not 100% true. While it’s correct that baking, frying and barbecuing vegetables at extremely high temperatures for long periods of time can destroy nutrients and even trigger the formation of toxic compounds, cooking most varieties the right way actually ensures that more of their valuable compounds are absorbed by your body.

In fact, many people end up with a lot of discomfort and gastrointestinal distress in the form of bloating and poor digestion when they eat raw vegetables simply because they’re bodies aren’t able to break the stuff down. The solution to this problem is simple: Cook your vegetables.

Advertising

5295195626_72529a599f_z

    *Image courtesy of Zlatko Unger

    Cooking helps break down the cell walls of your greens, making them easier to digest and their nutrients more readily available for absorption. For example, a Cornell University Study showed that cooking tomatoes helped increase the availability of cancer-fighting lycopene for use by your body. Your alternative to cooking? Spending 5 hours a day chewing on your raw vegetables, the way chimpanzees (our closest living relatives who share over 98% of our genetic blueprint) break down the cellulose in their food which allows them to digest it.

    Your veggie fix: Preserve water-soluble nutrients like vitamins B and C by cooking your vegetables in as little liquid as possible, such as steaming, stir-frying or roasting. If you do decide to boil your veggies, save the liquid for making soups and sauces. Drizzling your veggies with oil while you’re roasting or pan-frying will help increase the absorption of oil-soluble vitamins A, D,E and K.

    Mistake #2: You’re not washing your veggies

    If you’re buying conventionally-grown vegetables, chances are they’re laden with chemicals in the form of pesticides. In fact, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit research organization based in Washington D.C. states in their 2015 Shopper’s Guide To Pesticides In Produce that nearly two-thirds of the 3,015 produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013 contained pesticide residues.

    This means that not running your vegetables under the tap could leave you vulnerable to toxic chemical ingestion, gut inflammation, stomach pain and diarrhea. Plus the long-term, cumulative effects of consuming these chemicals? Unknown.

    Advertising

    4804233850_7e81cbd000_z

      *Image courtesy of Emily

      Your veggie fix: Soak your vegetables in water for at least 20 minutes and give them a final rinse just before you cook them. Even better, buy organic, advises the EWG.

      Mistake #3: You don’t do frozen

      Here’s the problem with buying only fresh vegetables: the longer you keep them, the more time you give their nutrients to fade and break down. Frozen produce is actually harvested and packaged at its peak – this ensures that their precious vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients are locked in and preserved until you’re ready to cook them.

      In some studies, frozen vegetables have actually been shown to be superior to fresh ones. Case in point: Researchers from Leatherhead Food Research, a non-profit food research organization, and University of Chester, both in the United Kingdom, discovered this when they performed 40 tests to measure nutrient levels in produce that had been refrigerated for three days, in contrast to those that had been frozen.

      3072821123_3b9a5d651a_z

        *Image courtesy of Steven Depolo

        Advertising

        Their findings? There were more beneficial nutrients in the frozen samples, which ranged from broccoli to blueberries. In 67% of the cases, frozen fruits and veggies contained higher levels of phytonutrients, including beta-carotene, polyphenols and lutein.

        Your veggie fix: Have a good balance of fresh and frozen produce – which are particularly handy on days when you’re pressed for time – at the ready in your refrigerator. Frozen options let you whip up quick and easy meals without compromising on taste or nutrient content.

        Mistake #4: You’re not eating in color

        While there’s no doubt that broccoli and bok choy are good for you, eating just a handful of vegetable varieties day in and day out means that you’re missing out on a whole lot of plant goodness.

        10387677365_60b15ffa5b_z

          *Image courtesy of Jeanette

          Other than helping you stave off meal boredom, going for a rainbow-colored line-up of vegetables gives your body a bigger boost of heart disease- and cancer-preventing phytonutrients like lutein, lycopene, flavonoids and tannins.

          Advertising

          Your veggie fix: Step out of your green zone and into the oranges, reds, yellows and blues for maximum nutrient exposure and benefits. While researchers have not been able to pin-point what proportion of phytonutrients make up the right balance for disease prevention, their recommendations are simple: Eat what you love and can afford.

          Mistake #5: You’re juicing fiber away

          Juicing your veggies may seem like the easiest solution to getting your daily produce fill (until it’s time to clean out the juicer), but picking juice over whole vegetables means you’re eliminating a very important part of your diet: fiber; you know, the stuff that keeps you regular, your appetite in check, overall calorie intake lower and you fuller for longer – especially crucial if fat loss is what you’re after.

          13248192923_a7717f3bfe_z

            *Image courtesy of Shandi-lee Cox

            Your veggie fix: Instead of juicing, try blending your veggies with chicken stock and spices to turn it into a hearty soup. That way, the fiber content of your chosen veggies stays intact while you still get to enjoy all the amazing health-enhancing compounds. Bonus: A soup keeps you fuller for longer than a glass of juice will.

            Bon appétit!

            Advertising

            Featured photo credit: KaboomPics via kaboompics.com

            More by this author

            Michele Lian

            Food Coach

            5 Unexpected Ways You Are Making Your Vegetables Less Healthy 10 Reasons You Should Love Your Body No Matter What Others Say

            Trending in Health

            1 How to Quit Drinking for a Healthier Body and Mind 2 How to Sleep Through the Night and Get Good Rest 3 Why You Keep Waking Up in the Middle of the Night (And How to Fix It) 4 Best Water to Drink (The Ultimate Guide to Drink for Better Health) 5 3 Steps to Get Rid of a Candida Overgrowth

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on July 12, 2021

            100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier

            100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier
            Advertising

            Want to learn some quick and easy life hacks that are easy to do, low cost and saves you time?

            By tweaking little things in your daily life, it can make your life much more convenient!

            Here’re 100 of the most practical life hacks so you can just pick up any of them right away!

            83 tie a small piece of bright colored fabric

              84 write random letter

                85 use a rubberband

                  86 dorm smell bad

                    87 lean your phone on your sunglassess

                      89 how to waterproof your shoes

                        90 take a picture of the name card

                          91 iron inside out

                            92 old newspaper

                              93 tumble try shoes

                                keep a card like this

                                  SONY DSC

                                    94 soap bar

                                      95 make a hole

                                        96 drop the battery

                                          97 use a coozie

                                            98 when taking a picture

                                              use a clean dust pan

                                                try a pants hanger

                                                  use your cellphone light

                                                    use a spring from an old pen

                                                      quick and easy iphone speaker

                                                        user binder clips

                                                          wrap a wet paper towel around your beverage

                                                            put pancake mix in a ketchup bottle

                                                              clean out an old lotion bottle for your beach

                                                                use a muffin tin to serve condiments at a bbq

                                                                  doritos are great for kindling

                                                                    use nail polish to identify different keys

                                                                      use a hanging shoe rack to store cleaning supplies

                                                                        freeze grapes to chill white wine without

                                                                          use paper clips to organize your cables

                                                                            almost finished your jar of nutella

                                                                              sick of having a box full of tangled

                                                                                unroll the rim to increase the capacity

                                                                                  cut open toilet paper rolls and use as a cuff

                                                                                    remove the stem from strawberries

                                                                                      turn an old bottle into a simple little cord holder

                                                                                        for iced coffee and iced cappuccino, use frozen coffee cubes

                                                                                          how to fold a fitted bed sheet

                                                                                            tired of snoozing past your alarm

                                                                                              place a rubber band around an open paint can to wipe your brush on

                                                                                                ut a wooden spoon across a boiling pot

                                                                                                  use bread clips to save flip-flops

                                                                                                    take pictures of friends holding items

                                                                                                      how i always know which headphone is the left one

                                                                                                        put a stocking over the end of a vacuum

                                                                                                          How to make sure you drink enough water

                                                                                                            user a can opener to open blister

                                                                                                              good sandwich guide

                                                                                                                turn your muffin pans upside down

                                                                                                                  50 pounds of groceries and living on the 5th floor

                                                                                                                    the right way to make a blt

                                                                                                                      add one teaspoon of baking soda

                                                                                                                        38

                                                                                                                          hair straighteners equals to collar irons

                                                                                                                            stack your clothes vertically to see them all

                                                                                                                              the right way to make cookies in the summer

                                                                                                                                how to clean a blender

                                                                                                                                  the right way to eat a popsicle

                                                                                                                                    use bread clips to label and organize power cords

                                                                                                                                      to get the built up residue off of your shower head

                                                                                                                                        user a hair clip to orgainize long wires

                                                                                                                                          a frozen saturated sponge in a bag

                                                                                                                                            rub stuck zipper teeth with a graphite pencil

                                                                                                                                              use a soda pop tab

                                                                                                                                                50

                                                                                                                                                  51 How to multiply large numbers in your head.

                                                                                                                                                    52 How to open a bottle if you dont have a corkscrew.

                                                                                                                                                      rub a walnut on damaged wooden furniture

                                                                                                                                                        kids fall out of bed

                                                                                                                                                          use toothpaste to clear up hazy car

                                                                                                                                                            58

                                                                                                                                                              59 keep pizza out while driving home

                                                                                                                                                                60 put your straw through the tab to keep it from rising

                                                                                                                                                                  hold oreos with a fork so your fingers

                                                                                                                                                                    Never lose your remotes again

                                                                                                                                                                      hiding your emergency money

                                                                                                                                                                        use a bread tab to hold your spot on a roll

                                                                                                                                                                          if you are at a hotel and run out of chargers

                                                                                                                                                                            keep a square of cardboard in a ziplock bag

                                                                                                                                                                              If you need to pee or smoke at a bar

                                                                                                                                                                                drill holes in the bottom of your garbage

                                                                                                                                                                                  use an accented letter as your passcode

                                                                                                                                                                                    use a squeeze ketchup bottle top with your shopvac

                                                                                                                                                                                      do something unusual when locking the door

                                                                                                                                                                                        when heating leftovers space out a circle in the middle

                                                                                                                                                                                          dont burn yourself in those hard to reach candles

                                                                                                                                                                                            put a small amount of water in a glass when you microwave your pizza

                                                                                                                                                                                              75 use a piece of paper to organize

                                                                                                                                                                                                use half a pool noodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                  pencil case to store cables

                                                                                                                                                                                                    78 clothespin to hold nail

                                                                                                                                                                                                      79 make blts

                                                                                                                                                                                                        80 take a picture of your fridge

                                                                                                                                                                                                          81 fill plastic water bottles

                                                                                                                                                                                                            82 right ways to eat chips

                                                                                                                                                                                                              99 if your plug keeps failing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                100 put the banana on the wire

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  88 before you throw away a post it

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Source: Reddit LifeProTips

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There you go, 100 awesome life hacks that you can try right now to make your life a lot easier!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    More Amazing Life Hacks for An Easier Life

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    50 Top Parenting Tricks and Hacks That Will Make Life Easier And More Fun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    30 Brilliant Camping Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    20 Popular Life Hacks From the Internet Debunked (or Verified)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Read Next