3 Ways to Get More Nutrition from Produce
Simple tips to help ensure you get maximum nutrition from the produce you eat
It’s definitely smart to incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. In fact, many experts recommend half your plate be made up of fruits and veggies. Unfortunately, piling the produce on your plate may not necessarily be getting you the nutrition you expect.
First of all, because the published nutritional data for a given fruit or vegetable doesn’t necessarily match the specific piece of produce you have on your plate. Differences in growing conditions, such as soil health, sunlight, and water, can affect the nutrients in the produce. Plus, some studies have shown that overall nutrient levels have deteriorated over the past 50 years due to changes in agricultural practices.
Secondly, there is the issue of bioavailability. Just because a nutrient is present in a particular food doesn’t necessarily mean your body can extract and use all of it. The way a food is prepared as well as the workings of your digestive system can affect bioavailability.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take right now to help maximize the amount of nutrition you’re getting from your produce:
Buy Local and Eat Fresh
Many types of produce start to lose nutrients as soon as they are picked through the process of respiration. This means that for the biggest nutritional benefit, you want to eat your veggies while they are as close to fresh-picked as possible. Typically, the best way to do this is to buy local. This ensures the shortest trip from the farm to the store and the least amount of nutrients lost. Asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, peas, and sweet corn all have very high respiration rates so these are the most important veggies to buy locally and eat while they are at their freshest.
Eat Cooked and Raw Veggies
The cooking process can cause produce to lose certain vitamins (including A, C, D, E, B1, B5, B12, and folate). However, cooking can enhance the bioavailability of certain minerals and nutrients (like calcium, iron, lycopene, and potassium). This means that eating a given veggie cooked sometimes and raw at other times is the best way to get the complete range of available nutrients.
Improve Gut Health
The bacteria in your gut affect your digestion and the nutrition you get from various foods. It’s important to have a healthy balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut so you can properly digest insoluble fiber from produce, create certain vitamins, and absorb short-chain fatty acids. Changing your diet to include less sugar and refined carbs and more fiber is one way to support healthy gut bacteria. Taking a quality probiotic supplement will also help by keeping your gut colonized with plenty of “good” bacteria.
If you’re still unsure whether or not you’re getting all the nutrients you need from your food, you may want to consider taking a multi-vitamin. Renew Youth offers a third-party tested multi-vitamin you can trust to deliver the nutrition you need for better aging. To learn more, please call us at 800-859-7511.