TOMATOES: stew themchanginghabits.com.au
GARLIC: rest it
If you’re smashing up the smelly stuff and adding it straight to your cooking, press pause – leaving it to sit for 15 minutes after it’s been crushed triggers an enzyme reaction that boosts its healthy compounds. After all, there’s no rush, says O’Meara. “The heat reduces the amount of the health-promoting chemical allicin, so it’s best to add your garlic just before you finish cooking rather than at the start,” she adds.
“The correct preparing and cooking of foods ensures we consume the maximum nutrients available”
– Cyndi O’Meara, nutritionist
KALE: ferment it
Cooking kale can cause it to lose up to 89 per cent of its vitamin C content, and more than half of its disease-fighting polyphenols, but it can be hard to stomach raw. The answer? Ferment it. “Fermenting foods releases so many more nutrients, increases digestibility and helps improve the bowel microbiome,” explains O’Meara.
GREEN VEGIES: steam them
“Steaming asparagus, cabbage and spinach, among other vegetables, brings out more antioxidants like carotenoids and ferulic acid,” says O’Meara. And while microwaves often get a bad rap, a Spanish study** found that nuking was better than boiling when it came to preserving antioxidants in vegies. Try steaming them in a glass bowl with a tablespoon or two of water for a few minutes until they’re bright and tender.
Add oil: Monounsaturated fats, like olive oil, promote the absorption of carotenoids†, the fat-soluble compounds in vegies that have been linked to a reduced risk of diseases like cancer.
*Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results – Foods and Nutrients, 2011–12, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2014. **Journal of Food Science vol. 74, no. 3, H97–H103 (2009). †Molecular Nutrition & Food Research Vol 56, No. 6, 866–877 (2012)
Get your load of nutrients with our vegie-rich recipes. See linked recipes below.