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Culinary nutrition secrets of your summer fruits and veggies

By Katya Baxter, Nutritionist, MenuMax.com

I am a huge fan of summer and all the food it brings us. It is not only full of mouthwatering flavors, but also nourishment. Turns out, if you handle and cook fruits and veggies properly, you can bring out even more of their wondrous health benefits. Here are few of them.

Watermelon. Did you know the effects of lycopene and beta carotene (powerful antioxidants) in watermelon are significantly increased when it is kept at room temperature?

Garlic. Allicin is the substance that makes garlic so valuable when it comes to cardiovascular health. It is allicin that helps keep arteries from hardening but it is only fully released when a clove is crushed and exposed to the air for at least 10 minutes before heating it up.

Kale. Cook it lightly (steam it, blanch it, lightly saute it) and use a little olive oil to help with the absorption of all those fat-soluble vitamins kale is rich in!

Corn. Vitamin C in corn increases at least seven times when dry corn is soaked and cooked. This is because the hull separates from the grain causing nutrients to be released.

Tomatoes. Cooked tomatoes contain more lycopene than fresh ones. With a bit of olive oil, the body will absorb the lycopene four times as readily as that of the lycopene in uncooked tomatoes.

Onions. Onions’ special quality is that they tend to neutralize the toxic by-products often produced by heated oil. So there is another good reason to add them to the pan before frying anything else – they are great flavor and health enhancers!

Oregano. This wonder herb is often used to fight infections and is best in its fresh form. Its antioxidant activity is up to twenty times higher than any other herb.

Blueberries. Did you know wild blueberries are not only much tastier than their farm grown cousins, but they also contain fifty percent more antioxidants?

Romaine lettuce. If you have a full head of romaine, make sure to keep the outer leaves! They contain the most flavonoids.


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