WHEN THEY’RE THIS HEALTHY, YOU’VE GOT TO LOVE YOUR GREENS
Greens are packed with goodness, but to get the most from them, follow these simple tips when cooking them.
Some vitamins and minerals can be easily lost when fruit and vegetables are prepared or cooked, so try to remember to:
- Eat as soon as possible after buying, rather than storing for a long time.
- Don’t overcook. Start with boiling water and cover tightly to keep in the steam, because this speeds up the cooking. Alternatively you can use a steamer or a microwave.
- Don’t overcook. This is the quickest way to ruin the taste of greens and to give them that soggy taste that we all remember from school.
- Use as little water as possible, and don’t throw away the cooking water – use it for soup or sauces and you get some of the lost vitamins and minerals back.
- Avoid leaving any vegetables open to the air, light or heat if they have been cut – always cover and chill them. But don’t soak them in water because vitamins and minerals can dissolve away.
- Don’t keep food hot for too long because vitamin levels start to drop within a few minutes. See the Food Standards Agency’s Eat Well website for more information.
Vegetables from the Brassica family – or ‘greens’ – are some of the healthiest vegetables around
For this reason it’s important that you try to get green veg into your daily diet as much as possible. It has been proven that greens reduce the risk of many cancers, as well as heart disease.
Many of the health benefits of green vegetables are thought to be associated with Glucosinolates. These are sulphur containing compounds that are characteristic of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. And it is these compounds that also give vegetables like Brussels sprouts and cabbages their distinctive smell.
Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts both contain high levels of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps protect cells and keeps them healthy and it is thought to help the body absorb iron from food. Greens also contain Vitamin K which is used by the body for blood clotting. While this helps wounds to heal properly, there is also increasing evidence that Vitamin K is also needed to help build strong bones.