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Maximize Your Nutrition With Proper Prep and Cooking

The New Year is upon us, which of course, brings the desire to eat better and improve our health. And one of the best places to start is your local produce department, with its full supply of Melissa’s Organic Produce. Melissa’s Organic Produce is low in calories and loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants. But buying Melissa’s organic produce is just the start. How you prepare your food once you get it home can be just as important as the produce you choose to eat.

Here are a few tips and a few tricks to help you get the most from of your produce:

Asian Cabbage Salad

Take cabbage, for example. If you want to get the most out of the cancer-fighting myrosinase enzymes, slice or shred raw and let it sit for five to ten minutes before cooking. Then lightly steam or sauté for a short amount of time instead of using the microwave.

If you like to add garlic to your pasta or mashed cauliflower, choose fresh over dried. Fresh garlic contains hydrogen sulfide, which relaxes blood vessels and may be good for the heart.

Organic Peeled Garlic

To get the most of its cancer-fighting benefits, eat it raw. Though roasted garlic tastes great roasted, roasting or microwaving your garlic can significantly reduce or destroy its anti-cancer activity. If the thought of eating raw garlic has you trembling like a vampire, chop or crush it beforehand and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes before cooking. Allowing it to sit after chopping creates healthy hydrogen sulfide and the compound allicin, long thought to be responsible for many of garlic's health benefits.

Image of cooked tomatoes and eggplant

While raw tomatoes are certainly nutritious (as they are loaded with vitamin C, beta and alpha-carotene, potassium, folate, and fiber), it is difficult for our bodies to absorb the powerful antioxidant called lycopene. Cooking tomatoes or breaking up and mashing them and combining them with some type of fat or oil has been shown to aid absorption. When tomatoes are eaten with broccoli, it becomes more effective at shrinking prostate tumors.

Image of Broccoli Salad 

And speaking of broccoli, steaming it for two to four minutes makes it easier to get the bounty of nutrients it offers. But you’ll need to watch your cooking time as overcooking broccoli can destroy the vital enzyme myrosinase, which is required to release sulforaphane, broccoli's cancer-preventive and anti-inflammatory agent. Besides cooking, another way to boost broccolis benefits is to eat it with other sulfurane-containing vegetables such as mustard, radishes and arugula.

Image of Baked Potatoes with Pepper Flake Garlic Butter and Sour Cream

During the winter, having baked potatoes for dinner can make a long cold day seem just a little bit better. It’s the French fries and deep-fried chips that can get us into trouble. Not just because they are high in fat but also when high-carbohydrate or starchy foods like potatoes are cooked at high temperatures (temperatures above 248 degrees), it creates the chemical acrylamide, which has been linked to cancer. The best way to avoid this and get the most nutrients is to steam your potatoes, as this, along with boiling and microwaving, doesn't cause this chemical to form. Another way to reduce your exposure to acrylamide is to keep potatoes away from the refrigerator, as this increases acrylamide during cooking. It is always best to store potatoes in a dark, cool place to prevent sprouting and help them last longer.

So, fill your baskets with Melissa’s Organic Produce and pay attention to these tips and it’s sure to be a healthy New Year.



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