By Isabelle Huot
End of summer is the perfect time to fill your plate with fruit and vegetables. They’re packed with vitamin C, folate, fibre, and carotenoids, as well as bioactive components such as polyphenols, flavonoids, organosulfurs, isothiocyanates, and indoles, all of which offer protective benefits. In addition to reducing the risks for cancer and cardiovascular disease, plant foods can reduce the risks for Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis.
Preserving as many nutrients and trace elements as possible is key to getting the maximum health benefits. Vitamin C is especially sensitive to cooking, but carotenoids aren’t, and with some elements, such as lycopene, their bioavailability in fact increases with cooking.
Foods that are eaten raw can also lose nutrients: vitamins, minerals, and trace elements are affected by exposure to air, light, and the amount of time they’re stored. Buy local and consume vegetables as soon as possible after buying them.