Saturday, November 18, 2006

Getting Nutrition When Fresh Fruits and Vegetables are Out of Season

For thousands of years, people have lived and trived in farming communities and eating the food that grew well in each season. This meant that to get certain fruits or vegetables year round, they had to be preserved, jellied, canned, or in some of the colder areas of the world, frozen. In many regions across the globe, people have adopted super fast eating habits and forgotten what it means to really eat healthy.

So what have we gained with this high-technology, super fast paced, eat-on-the-go lifestyle that we've created? Well, not really much of anything. In fact, we are loosing out on some of vital life-giving foods that we were meant to eat. Healthy to some has been reduced to ordering a burger flame broiled instead of fried. It's not that everyone should go so far as becoming lacto-ovo-vegetarians, I mean, you can if you want to, or even vegan for that matter, but everyone can benefit from knowing what foods you can get the most nutrition from in every season. Taking advantage of what is in the store during each season, along with healthy portions of whole grains, protiens, and carbohydrates.

We do have alternatives, some are more nutritious than others. If you have time, you can read the labels on frozen varieties. Not all frozen foods are created equal! Processing can take much of the nutritional value out of foods, and the less the fruits and veggies are processed, the least amount of vitamins and minerals are lost. Canned varieties are also a substitution if necessary, but because most of the products are heated during the canning process, much of the nutritional value is lost. Some of the natural nutrients present in fresh foods are sensitive to heat, and are destroyed when they reach certain temperatures.

For an indepth look into the nutritional content of many of the produce available on the market today, check out Dr. Decuypere's Nutrient Charts. You can learn what produce you may need in your diet to optimize your health. Some people can even get their daily requirements of nutrients by diet alone, without unhealthy chemical vitamin supplements. Keeping brown or whole grain rice and beans, a wide variety of other whole grains and legumes, oats, whole grain flour, and plenty of herbs and spices, you should be able to put together some very healthy meals, and some pretty healthy doses of B vitamins! If you enjoy meat, these ingredients will open up the possibilities of a nutritional meal. Even if you're not a total health nut, and just want to get a little more nutrition out of your diet, your healthy alternatives are limited only by your imagination. Remember this tip when serving up a meal: The more colorful and fresh the food is, the healthier it is. In other words, choose a wide variety of "colors" when selecting produce to get a wide variety of the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that are needed by your body on a daily basis.