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.
Purple, Yellow, and Red Carrots
Carrots can last in refrigeration for some time without losing too much flavor (or, important for supermarket sales, their color). But the longer they sit, the more of their nutrients go out the door. To get fresh, healthful carrots, buy them in a bunch, which guarantees they are as young as possible (or the stems will have withered or rotted). Then, choose by color: Purple, yellow, and red carrots have many times the nutrients of your standard orange variety. Orange carrots are a modern invention, bred by the Dutch for a holiday a few hundred years ago (a process that sapped the nutrients). The carrot skin is nutritious as well, so wash, don't peel them, and always avoid so-called baby carrots, which are just carrots without their outer layers. Finally, serve carrots cooked with oil or fat, which offers eight times more beta-carotene.
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