Nutrition and Hydration week has been celebrated since 2012 in the month of March but this year is being celebrated in June (14th – 20th) due to the pandemic and the pressures that were put on health and social care systems during this time. This week we will explore how to get more nutrients from the foods you eat without eating more foods as well as the importance of hydration.
Eating fresh locally grown produce maximizes the vitamins and minerals you consume. The soil is where fruits and vegetables get their nutrients from and plucking them from the soil separates them from their nutrient source. The longer they are separated from their nutrient source, the more nutritional value they lose. Studies have shown that when you purchase a fruit or vegetable at a grocery store nearly 15 to 60% of the vitamins have been lost.
To Cook Or Not To Cook…
That is the question! Try to gain a better understanding of what foods are nutrient dense when cooked and what foods are nutrients dense raw as anywhere from 15 to 55% of nutrients are lost in cooking. For example, cooking increase the bioavailability of beta carotene in red, orange and yellow plants such as tomatoes and carrots. Whereas, heat breaks down nutrients in foods such as broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower etc.
If you are hesitant to eat raw foods, try cooking these fruits and vegetables at a lower heat without exposing them to a lot of water. Another hack is saving the water used to boil vegetables and using it as stock so the nutrients are not lost.
Some foods are meant to be stored in the fridge and some need a little air and can be stored on your counter. Root vegetables such as potatoes and onions do better in cool, dry environments. Whereas, most fruits should be kept on the counter and consumed when they ripen. And greens such as spinach, kale and lettuce should be rinsed, wrapped in paper towels and refrigerated in a container. Storing fruits and vegetables correctly can help to maintain the nutrients they hold.
Drinking the right amount of water for your body can really be life-changing as it affects all areas of your body. Did you know that losing even 2% of your body’s water can significantly affect your physical and mental performance? If you can boost your performance and productivity with just a glass of water, why wouldn’t you? To learn more about the benefits of staying hydrated click here.
To get involved in National Nutrition & Hydration Week click here to find out more. We hope these hacks can help you to begin or continue on your health journey!
By Pooja Depala