Investigative journalist Jo Robinson has spent the past 15 years poring over science journals to find out which tomatoes have the most lycopene, the best way to prepare garlic to get the most allicin, and what type of lettuce is really the best for you. The results of her work are found in her new book, 'Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health,' a user's guide to picking the fruits and vegetables that offer the best nutrition. "It's not about buying exotic, expensive things," Robinson says. To the contrary, Robinson explains, it's far more useful to know how to pick winners among common lettuces, apples, and carrots. Here are 10 fruits and vegetables Robinson thinks we should all be eating more of, and the best way to prepare them to maximize their nutritional impact.
Garlic happens to be a unique repository for a wonder compound called allicin, which has antibacterial properties, can lower blood pressure, and is great for overall gut health. Robinson says, though, that in order for allicin to be created, it must first be pressed, sliced, or mashed and then must sit for 10 minutes before you cook it (otherwise the heat destroys the effect). Other allicin-rich foods include wild spring onions (be sure to eat their nutrient-dense green stalks), scallions, and leeks.