The way you cook and prepare your food can make the difference to a healthy diet
From the humble potato to your morning coffee, you could be missing out on making the most of what you eat.
Many of the day-to-day essentials in your diet can become superfoods thanks to a few simple tricks.
Improving the nutritional benefit of your favourite ingredients is easy. It all comes down to how you select, store and cook the food and little changes are all it takes. Discover how to supercharge your diet with this easy-to-follow advice.
PASTA: SERVE AL DENTE
Pasta has been out of favour recently but is actually made up of carbs that are steadily released into the bloodstream, making it a healthy choice. The secret is how you prepare it. Cooking it al dente will result in it having a lower glycemic index (GI) compared with boiling it until soft.
Leaving it to chill will further lower the GI, as cooling turns carbs into resistant starch, which keeps you fuller for longer. Choose wholegrain, which has two times more vitamins, minerals and fibre than white pasta and serve up a delicious pasta salad.
BLOOD ORANGES: CHILL THEM
Blood oranges are packed with vitamin C and are one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. The bright red colour that gives them their name is loaded with anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants.
Research shows storing blood oranges in the fridge for six days raises their antioxidant level eight times.
Oats are the ultimate wholegrain
MANGOS: EAT THE SKIN
Mangos are packed with your daily dose of vitamin C and more than half the vitamin A you need in every 150g. While most people throw out the peel, it is edible and contains 400 times the antioxidant mangiferin than the fruit.
Choose long yellow Asian mangos that have thinner skin and five times more vitamins C and A than green mangos.
Oats are the ultimate wholegrain. They are high in protein, calcium and essential fatty acids as well as the soluble fibre beta-glucan, which reduces cholesterol.
Microwaving involves less stirring than cooking on the hob, which means grains are broken up less and water is less able to penetrate, causing 40 per cent less starch to be released. Starch is where most of porridge’s calories come from so microwaving creates a healthier breakfast full of fibre.
Serve your pasta al dente
COFFEE: FILTER IT
A rich source of heart-healthy polyphenols, coffee contains higher levels than blackberries and kale.
Preparing coffee by filtering is the best way to extract the nutrients. It contains 50 per cent more polyphenols than espresso, almost twice that of percolator coffee and over three times that of instant.
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SALAD LEAVES: CHOP UP
Leafy green salad leaves are rich in nutrients but you can send their antioxidant levels soaring by chopping them up. Slice and tear leaves, put in a sealed container in the fridge overnight and nutrient levels will increase by 50 per cent.
Another top tip when choosing salad leaves is to opt for dark green and purple leaves over iceberg lettuce as they have more nutrients.
Mango’s peel contains 400 times the antioxidant mangiferin than the fruit
BRUSSELS SPROUTS: STEAM
The cabbage family is packed with nutrients including vitamins A and C and folic acid. Choosing Brussels sprouts will further boost the nutrients you eat.
Sprouts have five times the level of cancer-fighting glucosinolates compared with cauliflower. These bitter-tasting compounds have a protective effect on the body. Steam instead of boil and they will retain twice the antioxidant levels.
Try steaming your Brussels sprouts to get the most of their antioxidants
POTATOES: GO SMALL
Contrary to popular opinion, spuds do not cause weight gain and are rich in fibre, potassium and vitamin C. The key is to choose small potatoes as up to 50 per cent of the nutrients come from the skin.
The indigestible fibre in the skin slows absorption of carbohydrate thus lowering their GI.
Choosing smaller varieties such as new potatoes increases the ratio of skin to flesh, boosting nutrients.
l Extracted by HANNAH BRITT from How To Eat Better by James Wong (£20, Mitchell Beazley). To order a copy call the Express Bookshop on 01872 562 310 or visit expressbookshop.co.uk
Source : EXPRESS