You’ve heard the standard nutrition advice before, like stick to
fruits and vegetables, and focus on whole foods. But what if you’re
following all the tips and still missing out on important nutrients?
In order to make the most of your food, you need phytonutrients—the
healthy plant compounds that fight cancer, lower blood pressure, and
cholesterol, and enhance memory—says Jo Robinson, author of the new book Eating on the Wild Side. Follow these six surprising food rules to get more of them.
on blue foods like blueberries or blue potatoes, black like
blackberries or currents, red foods like cranberries or peppers, or
purple—concord grapes or purple asparagus, says Robinson. These foods
all contain anthocyanin, which has more health benefits than other plant
2. Stop peeling carrots
nutrients in the skin of a carrot are equal to the amount in an entire
peeled carrot, says Robinson. Just wash off the dirt and enjoy.
Americans have a habit of skipping bitter foods—which means they're
missing major health benefits, says Robinson. A dandelion, for example,
has twice the calcium and eight times more antioxidants than spinach,
says Robinson. If that's a bit too extreme for you, start small by
adding pieces of bitter red lettuce or radicchio to regular salad.
It’s easy to forget vegetables are still alive when they’re harvested,
says Robinson. When ripped, lettuce will believe a predator is eating
it, so it produces four times the amount of antioxidant-rich substances
in order to protect itself. (Yes, you're benefiting from scared
foods lose nutrients faster than others, says Robinson. Eat arugula,
broccoli, cherries, and kale within one to two days of harvest. Foods like
onions, potatoes, or apples are okay for a few days longer.
6. Let the garlic rest
Don’t toss whole cloves of garlic into hot oil. Instead, mince it and
set it aside for 10 minutes. Chopping will start a chemical reaction
allowing an enzyme to produce the healthy compound that reduces the risk
of cancer and heart disease, says Robinson.