Eating healthy foods can help to provide your body with the fuel to perform mentally and physically every day. A balanced nutrition plan is important for a healthy lifestyle, but there is so much more to it than just adding fruits and vegetables to your shopping list!
How you prepare food can really impact the health benefits your body gets from eating well. When making an effort to follow a balanced diet, you don’t want any nutrients to go to waste. To pack as much goodness as you can into every bite, make sure you’re eating healthy foods the right way. Check out this list of healthy food you might be eating the wrong way!
Whole grains and beans
Before cooking with grains and beans, it’s a good idea to give them a thorough soak first. This can help to release phytates (naturally-occurring chemicals found in beans and grains), as well as removing some of the salt that is added during packaging (beans only). While phytates aren’t necessarily harmful, they can bind to minerals (such as iron) and make it harder for your body to digest. While it’s tempting to skip this step and simply throw the grains and beans in with whatever you are cooking, this simple step can make sure that you’re getting as much nutrients out of these foods as possible!
Full of omega 3s and fibre, flaxseed is good for heart health and can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Like most foods, the nutrients are safely protected on the inside. Rather than eating them whole, grinding the seeds before you eat them can give your body the best chance of absorbing all the helpful nutrients. Once ground, try adding flaxseed to yoghurt, smoothies and salads for an extra boost!
Each time you grab a tub of yoghurt out of the fridge, you’ll probably notice it sometimes has that watery layer on top. That substance is yoghurt whey, which is just a result of the yoghurt settling. While it is mostly water, it does contain a number of minerals, including calcium, and protein as well. Rather than throwing those extra nutrients down the drain, just give your yoghurt a stir before eating it!
In addition to containing immune-system-boosting properties, garlic can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Allicin, the key ingredient responsible for many of these health benefits, is only released by crushing the garlic. The chemical process that creates allicin is set off when you crush the clove, not by slicing. When cooking with garlic, keep in mind this process takes about 10 minutes, so it can be a good idea to crush the garlic before you start heating the pan.
When you prepare broccoli for dinner, make the switch from boiling to steaming. Boiling can actually cause certain vitamins and antioxidants to leach into the cooking water, which eventually gets drained off before serving. To prevent this, I recommend using a steamer instead. Just a few minutes is enough to soften the stems without losing those essential nutrients!
To get the maximum nutritional benefits from your food, you need to be eating them the right way. It’s easy to be preparing foods all wrong and depriving yourself of major nutrients without even realising it! Hopefully these tips have given you something to think about next time you’re in the kitchen making something tasty to eat.
Love, Kayla xx