Vitamins How to Get the Most From Your Diet

March 12, 2006 | Filed Under Nutrition Supplements 
It’s not easy to eat right, but when you are going out of your way to eat healthy you should be sure that you’re getting the most from your foods. One important issue regarding vitamins is that some foods lose their vitamin content when they’re not handled properly.

Raw is better. It’s a simple fact of fruits and vegetables that cooking tends to damage vitamin content. If you have the choice between eating raw apples and applesauce, you’ll find that raw apples generally retain more of their natural vitamins. But are those raw vegetables and fruits always going to provide you with the vitamins you need? Not necessarily.

Read the label of processed foods. Many manufacturers fortify their processed foods with vitamins. In some cases, you may find that the applesauce actually has more vitamins and a higher content than a raw apple. It’s important to note that the vitamins you’re getting from the applesauce aren’t natural to the apple, but they’re present nonetheless.

It’s easy to tell the vitamin content of your favorite breakfast cereal, the fruit juice you had for a mid-morning snack or that granola bar you had on the way home from work. You tend to watch what you eat, so you also read those labels to be sure you’re eating snacks that are high in the vitamins you most need for your body. But what happens when you grab an apple? Most fresh fruits don’t come with a label so it’s sometimes difficult to know just what you’re eating. You’ll find some very helpful charts that list vitamin content of most fruits and vegetables, but keep some important facts in mind.

• Harvesting and handling matter. The harvesting time and practices may enhance or decrease the actual vitamin content of individual fruits and vegetables.
• Variety counts. An apple isn’t necessarily an apple. Different varieties have different vitamin content. The same is true of most fruits and vegetables.
• Cooking practices make a difference. Though fried vegetables will typically have a lower vitamin content than raw, the type of oil used to do the frying also makes a difference. Different oils have different vitamins and add (or detract) from the vegetables.

If you’re really looking to get the most from particular vegetables, fruits and other products, take time to do some research into the particular food you’re interested in or the vitamins you’re looking to increase. You may be surprised to find out that handling, cooking and choosing make a big difference in the vitamins you actually consume.

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