Since feeding the family on a tight budget, I’ve become more concious about making sure we’re getting all the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals in order to stay healthy.
No longer can I afford to top up on vitamin C by buying a punnet of blueberries, or buy expensive supplements to make sure I’m getting enough minerals. It’s become more about making the most of what I’ve got at hand, and in this process I’ve discovered many ingenious ways to get more vitamins and minerals WITHOUT changing your diet. Here’s what I’ve discovered….
1) Scrub don’t peel!
If you’re buying organic, there’s not need to peel fruit and vegetables including potatoes, parsnips and carrots. After all, most of the vitamins and minerals lie just below the surface, and the skin contains lots of soluble fibre to aid digestion. I find a good scrub is all that’s needed!
2) A squeeze of lemon on your green leafy veg
Adding vitamin C from lemon or lime juice to your spinach, greens, kale, lettuce, rocket etc aids in the absorption of Iron. If you’re not eating red meat regularly you may be low in Iron. Iron is needed to carry oxygen around the body and a deficiency could make you feel tired.
3) Put butter or olive oil on your vegetables.
By adding fat to your vegetables you absorb more of the fat soluble vitamins – A, D, E and K. So dress your salad with olive oil, put a knob of butter on cooked vegetables or yoghurt in your soup. It tastes better too.
4) Soak your beans over night
Soaking dried beans, lentils and pulses overnight before cooking increases the availability of B and C Vitamins.
Better still, once you’ve soaked your beans over night, allow them to sprout for a few days. Sprouting can increase the vitamin and mineral content of a legume by as much as 30 times! This is because sprouting (see how to sprout here) reduces phytic acid which can block the absorption of certain nutrients. Sprouts are therefore a fantastic way to stock up on vitamins and minerals.
7) Keep the boiled water for gravy
If you do boil vegetables for instance potatoes or parsnips, keep the boiling liquid and use it for gravy. You’ll make good use of the vitamins that have leached into the water.
8) Cook meat on the bone
When cooking a stew or roast, make sure you use meat on the bone. The minerals from the bones leach into the stew making it extra nutritious and tasty.
9) Cook your Carrots
Beta carotene (the orange pigment in carrots that makes vitamin A) is more available to the body when cooked. Other vegetables that are more nutritious when cooked include – tomatoes, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and bok choy .
10) Chew your food thoroughly
Chewing your food well aids in digestion so you’ll end up absorbing more nutrients.
You see, there are many ways to increase vitamins without taking expensive supplements or eating specialist super foods. As a friend just told me (thanks Christine) – you don’t have to be wealthy to be healthy!