Jun 18 2017

Say Hello to Summer’s Healthy Harvest

Published by at 12:26 pm under Antioxidants,Organic,probiotic supplements

Say hello to summer’s healthy harvest
With the warm summer months comes an abundance of produce ripe for the picking.

Summer is almost here. The summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere will occur at 11:24pm CST on June 20th, bringing us the official start of summer, and the longest day of the year. Along with summer comes  sun-filled days at the beach or lake, extended bed times, evening walks filled with fire flies and plenty of outdoor barbeques. And best of all, summer brings an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables to fill our dining tables.

It is well known that fresh produce is the best thing we can put in our bodies. It is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and has very few calories. Try eating just fruits and vegetables for a week and see the pounds drop off! And who can resist fresh peaches, watermelon, artichokes, cherries, and all the other bright colored produce that fills the aisles at the grocery store this time of year.

To get the most nutritious bang for your buck though, it’s important to pay attention to where you are getting your produce and how you prepare it.  

First, get your vegetables from the healthiest soils. If you have the time and the desire, grow your own fruits and vegetables in rich, organic soil. The produce you grow yourself will give you the opportunity to enrich your soil with microbes that are so good for growing, and will more closely replicate the soil in which our great grandparents grew their food. And there is no greater pleasure than picking your own produce directly from the vine. Before the industrial revolution, and the use of commercial pesticides and fertilizers, this was how people derived their produce. As with most progress, there is good and bad. While it made farming more efficient, increasing productivity and profits, it resulted in depleted soils, robbing us of the miracle microbes that kept our guts so healthy.  

Not everyone has time to grow their own food, so the next best way to acquire the healthiest, organic veggies and fruits is to buy straight from the organic farms found at your local farmer’s market.  “…organic crops, on average, have higher concentrations of antioxidants, lower concentrations of (the heavy metal) Cd and a lower incidence of pesticide residues than the non-organic comparators across regions and production seasons…”1*

Once you get your produce home, there are ways to prepare them to keep from depleting important nutrients. “…While all cooking methods alter the nutrient composition of vegetables (and fruits), some destroy particular nutrients while others actually enhance nutrient content…” The least amount of cooking you can do to them, with a couple of exceptions, is best. Boiling your vegetables will leach a substantial amount of nutrients into the water, and when that water gets dumped out, so do the nutrients.  “…Vitamin C and many of the B vitamins are the most unstable nutrients when it comes to cooking. Because they’re water-soluble, they leach out of vegetables into the cooking water. If you boil your vegetables or microwave using too much water, you’ll end up with less thiamine, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and a lot less vitamin C…” 2*

Some vegetables are more heat sensitive than others. A study out of University of California, Davis, showed that up to 55 percent of Vitamin C in veggies is lost when vegetables are cooked, as compared to consuming them raw. This vitamin is easily degraded by heat. Polyphenols, which is a phytochemical found in abundance in kale, spinach and broccoli, are very susceptible to heat degradation. 2*

Vitamins A, K and E , as well as carotenoids (such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lycopene, and lutein) and antioxidants found in leafy greens, squash, sweet potatoes are fat-soluble nutrients as opposed to water soluble, making them more stable allowing them to fare better during the cooking process. Tomatoes are the one vegetable that are actually healthier when cooked, as lycopene is released in the heating process. Tomato sauces and cooked salsas are delicious and very good for you. 2*

Some vegetables are definitely best for you when you consume them raw, as opposed to cooking them. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and bok choy  fall into this category. Brussel sprouts, which contain the enzyme myrosinase, are interesting in that when you chop or chew them, it converts glucosinolates (phytochemicals) to anti-cancer compounds called isothiocyanates…” Myrosinase is easily degraded by heat, so beware when cooking your cruciferous veggies, as it can reduce their cancer-fighting properties. Steaming is the preferred way to cook cruciferous veggies. 2*

Whether you are a fan of microwaves or not, there is research showing that because they use less heat and shorter cooking times than most cooking methods, microwaving vegetables can actually help retain more nutritional value. You just don’t want to use too much water or cook them too long. “…A 2009 report in the Journal of Food Science found that compared with boiling, pressure cooking and baking, microwave cooking helped maintain the highest levels of antioxidants in beans, beets, artichoke, asparagus, garlic, onion and spinach. Microwave cooking increased antioxidant activity in eggplant, corn, peppers and Swiss chard. On the other hand, boiling and pressure cooking led to the greatest antioxidant losses…” Sautéing and roasting vegetables is another great way to get some variety in texture and taste, but just remember, too much heat will reduce their nutritional value.2*

While summer months bring us fresh vegetables, if you don’t get them fresh, or if you let them sit in your refrigerator too long, they can lose important nutrients on the road to your table. In the winter months, you can still benefit from vegetables by getting them frozen. “…Frozen vegetables closely match the nutrient content of their freshly picked counterparts because they’re flash-frozen at peak ripeness, a time when they’re most nutrient-packed…”2*

In conclusion, enjoy the plethora of delicious fruits and vegetables available to you in the coming months. Choose a cooking method that preserves the phytonutrients that are so good for your body. Fibrous vegetables are a wonderful prebiotic for the friendly bacteria residing in your microbiome, so keep them fed. Supplement with Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ to make up for the loss of bacteria in today’s commercial farming age. And, most of all, and have a wonderful start to your summer.

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli  

www.bodybiotics.com

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24968103
  2. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/leslie-beck-how-to-keep-the-vitamins-in-your-veggies/article23900957/


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