Veggies are important and good for our bodies. Whether you love or don’t like them—we can’t get a way around them. This is because they naturally give our bodies nutrients that can’t be found elsewhere. However, to get all the nutrients from your vegetable, how you prepare them matters a lot. This is because if you use the wrong preparation method, you might end up with veggies that only add fibre or nothing to your body.
Some veggies can be eaten raw. And when taken raw, your body picks all the nutrients which come are not destroyed by the cooking.
However, studies show that correctly cooking vegetables breaks down the tough outer layer. It breaks down the cellular structure of the vegetables, making them easier to digest and for the body to take in the necessary nutrients. For instance, earring cooked carrots and spinach give more carotene, which eventually converts to vitamin A.
Cooking vegetables doesn’t just help the absorption of vitamins. It helps other components, such as the number of minerals obtained from the veggies. Eating well-prepared veggies gives the body more magnesium, calcium, and iron.
So, how do you prepare your vegetables to give more nutrients to your body?
Steam! Don’t Boil
When you’re preparing vegetables, it’s advisable to keep the temperatures, cooking time, and amount of liquids at their minimum levels. This makes steaming one of the best ways to prepare veggies. Steaming breaks down the hard outer layer of the vegetables while at the same time preserving the nutrients needed by the body.
A research that was done in 2009 on different ways to prepare broccoli found that steaming kept the highest level of nutrients. This is as compared to other popular methods such as boiling, steaming, microwaving, and stir-frying.
When you’re boiling vegetables, most nutrients leach out of the vegetables and get into the water. And the more time you spend boling them, the more nutrients escape from the vegetables. And if you’re boiling at high temperatures, then the rate of leaching becomes high too.
When you’re making vegetable soup or stew, boiling is not an issue. This is because the nutrients will be consumed in the stew.
But if you’re preparing vegetables as a side dish, then it’s advisable to steam them instead of boiling them. Boiling will leave you with vegetables that don’t have any useful nutrients in them. Besides, when you boil vegetables, they lose their flavour and colour. You won’t enjoy what you are eating.
The art of steaming is cooking at low heat and briefly. You can use a regular saucepan or vegetable steamer when you steam your vegetables. The heat of the steam cooks the vegetables. This is because they are already soft and don’t need much cooking. Most of the vegetables are even okay to eat raw. The body can easily digest them. So, cooking them for a long period doesn’t help.
And that’s why steaming your vegetables is the most effective way of preparing veggies. It preserves flavour and colour. And all the nutrient content remains intact.
Why Should You Eat Vegetables Daily?
You might have been told to include vegetables in your daily diet. But do you know why this is important? Here are the top reasons why you should add vegetables to your daily diet.
- Fight Inflammation
Veggies are backed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and phytochemicals that help your body. So, it helps fight any form of inflammation in your body. You won’t notice it because your body clears the inflammation naturally.
- Regulate Blood Floor
Vegetables have potassium, sodium, and nitric oxide. These components help your body to get good nutrients that are useful for your blood regulation. For instance, nitric oxide relaxes the blood vessels allowing blood to flow easily. Potassium and sodium help your heart to beat properly. Some of the vegetables rich in these components include spinach and beets.
- Adds Fiber To Your Diet
One of the causes of indigestion is the fact that there are low levels of fibre in your body. This even leads to other issues, such as constipation. And when you suffer from these symptoms, your body fails to absorb all necessary ingredients. But that won’t be the case if you eat enough vegetables daily. Your digestion and bowel movements are regulated.
Vegetables also keep your stomach full. That means you won’t have to worry about issues such as excess weight that comes after overeating.
Luckily, all vegetables have good levels of soluble and insoluble fibres. That means you can eat vegetables of all kinds, and you would be good to go.
- Improving Sight and Eye Health
Your eyes are an important part of your body. When your sight is affected, you would really feel the impact of what could happen when your body doesn’t have enough nutrients to support it. But if you want to take care of your sight, be a friend of daily vegetables. Components such as Zeaxanthin and Lutein help reduce age-related macular degeneration. This means you will age with your sight intact.
Some of the eye-protecting vegetables include spinach, red peppers, basil, broccoli, and corn.
- Flawless Skin
Tomatoes have high levels of lycopene that protect your skin from sunburn-related symptoms. Other vegetables, such as avocados and kale, help your skin to remain elastic. Also, other vegetables, such as celery and cucumbers, have high levels of water content. They also help in retaining water in your body. And as a result, your daily hydration goals are met. In the process, your skin heals and rejuvenates itself.
- Improve Your Immune System
Eating vegetables boosts vitamin C levels in your body. This is a vitamin common in most vegetables. Vitamin C helps support the white blood cells. It also helps improve the overall immune system of your body. That means you are able to fight any disease threatening your system.
So, if you want to fight diseases and other infections in your body, include vegetables in your daily menu. It will go a long way in protecting you.
Can I Just Take Vitamins and Supplements Instead of Eating Vegetables Daily?
Most supplements might give you almost any nutrient you need for your body. But getting these nutrients directly from vegetables is better than taking supplements. The plants have a combination of nutrients at the same time. And that means when you’re taking a boul of veggies is the same as taking tons of pills.
Besides, there are some benefits and components, such as fibre, that might not be adequately obtained from pills and supplements.
If you want to live a healthy life, include vegetables in your body. They will give you nutrients that are helpful to your body. But to get the right level of nutrients, you must ensure that you prepare your vegies in the right way. Boiling veggies is not an effective way of cooking them. You can only boil when you’re preparing a soup. Because the nutrients will leach into the soup. But if you’re eating veggies as sides, steaming is the best way to prepare them.