Eating on the Wild Side - continued-
Think eating garlic makes us healthy?
Think fresh berries are better for us than than canned?
Think raw tomatoes are more nutritious than cooked or canned tomatoes?
I, a health enthusiast and admitted food freak and farmer's markets fan, confidently answered yes to every one of these questions.
Jo Robinson, in her fascinating, well-researched book Eating on the Wild Side, the Missing Link to Optimum Health has opened my eyes about ways to choose, store, and prepare fruits and vegetables that make them even more delicious nutritional powerhouses.
So, about garlic: Allicin is the major biologically active component of garlic. First reported by Cavallito and Bailey in 1944, allicin is the key ingredient responsible for the broad-spectrum of anti-bacterial activity in garlic. Garlic is antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, anticlotting and anticancer (wow!) But here is one key piece of info: you will reap all these benefits only if you chop, mince, slice or mash the garlic, then keep it away from heat for ten minutes. This creates the maximum amount of allicin, the true medicine in our beloved garlic.
And berries: According to Ms. Robinson's research, cooked blueberries have greater antioxidant levels than fresh berries, and canned (unsweetened) berries are best of all, provided you drink the canning liquid as well. Heating the berries rearranges the structure of the phytonutrients and also makes them more bioavailable,
Here's some news about tomatoes: The juice, seeds and pulp are high in an amino acid called glutamate, which enhances the flavors of foods its combined with, so don't toss those out. But here's the real surprise: the longer you cook them, the more health benefits you get. The cooking process makes the lycopene much more bio-available. Just thirty minutes of cooking can more than double their lycopene content. Canned (get BPA-free cans or tetrapaks) tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste are the richest sources of lycopene.......a cancer fighter and powerful antioxidant, among other things.
For info on other fruits, veggies and legumes we love and what brings out their life-giving qualities, I urge you to get the book. It really upped my nutritional game, improved my skin and made my farmers' markets trips feel like a treasure hunt.