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Eat yourself healthy

VegetablesIt is not enough to choose healthy foodstuff if you are to eat healthily. You also have to pay attention to how the food is prepared, Wenche Frølich says, who is professor at the University of Stavanger.

They must not be cooked in ways which destroy their nutritional value. Cooking is important for how nutrition is processed and used in our body. This is called bio-accessibility, Frølich says. She has a lot of good advice for eating with sense. Frølich is project leader for a long-running research project supported by the Research Council of Norway of which the aim is to get young men to improve their eating habits.

Frølich has shown how important it is that the food is prepared and stored in such a way that the nutritional ingredients are present and accessible when the food is to be eaten. A lot disappears during cooking. For vegetables and potatoes the best advice is: Steam boil in little water and over a short time. Serve the vegetables as soon as possible after preparation.

VegetablesCooking in a microwave oven seems to be as good as steam boiling, if not better. Frying vegetables in a pan destroys the nutritional value the most. Neither the raw materials nor the cooked food should be stored too long. It is therefore advantageous to have a short way between producer and consumer. Lettuce loses the folat more quickly if it is stored in light and at room temperature. Vegetables should therefore quickly be put into the refrigerator and stored under dark and cool conditions.

Many people, and women in particular, buy readymade vegetarian dishes in order to eat healthily. Unfortunately the tests show that that such dishes get a low folat content, which is a nutrition substance important for women. In rice dishes there is normally little folat while in potatoes and couscous, which comes from wheat, there are larger quantities.

There is a clear connection between eating lots of vegetables, fruit and grain products and the risk of a series of illnesses like some forms of cancer and heart and vascular diseases. These nutrients seem to influence our genes, Wenche Frølich says, and gives us this piece of advice: Eat food, not pills and dietary supplements. Supplements may be downright harmful. And the general rules still apply: Reduce the quantity of food, practice variation, which means as many kinds of food as possible.

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