Yesterday I reviewed the book Eating on the Wild Side. The book is full of excellent ideas on how to increase the nutrient density in your diet by making better choices when shopping and preparing fruits, vegetables and legumes. Here are the 21 ideas that I found the most interesting. The book has way more.
- Press garlic and wait 10 minutes before exposing to heat to maximize nutrition (allicin).
- Shallots are more nutritious than most onion varieties.
- Scallions have 140 times more phytonutrients than white onions.
- Canned and frozen corn can be as nutritious as fresh.
- Colorful potatoes (blue, purple, red) have more antioxidants than yellow potatoes.
- Cooked carrots are more nutritious than raw. Heat breaks down the tough cell walls making the nutrients more bio available.
- Baby carrots are less nutritious because of the carrots used and how they are cut.
- Adding fat to carrots increases beta-carotene.
- Beets are rich in anthocyanins.
- The most nutritious tomatoes are canned, as they are the richest source of lycopene.
- Broccoli and Brussel Sprouts lose nutrition quickly, so eat them within a day of purchase. Cutting increases respiration, which increases the rate of nutrient loss, so don’t buy the pre-cut broccoli florets. Cut it yourself.
- Frozen peas and beans are less nutritious than fresh, but canned beans have more antioxidants than home cooked.
- Steaming or using a pressure cooker for beans is better than cooking them in liquid – less nutrient loss.
- Apples highest in nutrition include Braeburn, Cortland, Discovery, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Liberty, Melrose, and Red Delicious. Ones low in nutrition include Golden Delicious and Pink Lady.
- Thawing frozen blueberries with a microwave retains the most nutrients.
- Cooking and canning blueberries increases phytonutrient content.
- Peaches and nectarines are identical except for one gene that codes for “fuzziness”.
- Pick red, purple or black grapes. The green ones little or no anthocyanin.
- Frozen concentrate OJ is often more nutritious than premium brands – more flavonoids and antioxidants.
- Mangos have 5 times the Vit C as oranges and 5 times the fiber of pineapples. Those with dark orange flesh have the most phytonutrient.
- Melons have very little nutrition.
Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson
Jan 31, 2014 — 11:42 am
Thanks for the summary!
Love organic canned, diced tomatoes. Sun ripened, picked at the right time and preserved, unlike most produce, which is picked early and possibly refrigerated (which ruins tomatoes). The cook Jamie Oliver almost always prefers canned tomatoes in his recipes for this reason.
Jan 31, 2014 — 12:46 pm
#15 makes me question a bit. I always pour pretty warm water over my frozen blueberries running through a colander. Takes 10 sec to get the job done. I would have thought that this method is more nutrient-friendly than the microwave.
Jan 31, 2014 — 12:50 pm
BTW, my Mathematics Prof once noted in his lecture how each canned tomatoes has its own unique 3-digit number on the lid. This is the day of the harvest referenced to 365 days of the year. I just can’t remember which day range he recommended to have a can with the best tasting tomatoes. Damn it!
Jan 31, 2014 — 1:12 pm
@Justin – Me too! And now that the BPA fear mongering has subsided, canned tomatoes are looking even better.
@Stephan – I think your method is equally fine. The comparison is to slowly thawing out the blueberries via letting them get to room temp on their own.
Feb 1, 2014 — 7:05 am
One more that stuck in my mind after reading the book:
White peaches are more nutritious than yellow peaches.
(I was disappointed to hear this, since white peaches have always tasted bland and overly sweet to me.)