Some nutritionists suggest that when you blend fruit up into a smoothie or juice, it loses some nutritional value — and they're right, to a degree.
"Raw fruits and vegetables can lose 25 per cent or more of their nutritional value when smoothies are created ahead of time and oxidation takes place," explains nutritionist Pawel Malczewski, author of 93 Quick & Easy Vegetarian Light Meals For Busy Women. "Typically you want to drink them when you make them in order to get the most out of them."
But Malczewski points out that pre-prepared smoothies are still a nutritious choice compared to fruits and vegetables that have been cooked. "In many cases, cooking or processing can remove about 50 per cent of the nutritional value," he says.
You don't need a degree in health or nutrition to know that an apple is better for you than a prepackaged, apple-flavoured muesli bar. But some packaged foods are actually just as good for you — if not better — than their raw counterparts.
"Many frozen or canned vegetables are processed within hours of picking them, and they will retain a good bit of the nutritional value," Malczewski explains. "No matter how carefully fresh vegetables are packed and transported, they lose some value over time, so you may be further ahead to buy the canned vegetables and use them."
Mayo Clinic nutritionist Jennifer K. Nelson says margarine is actually a better choice for heart health, as it's made from vegetable oils and therefore contains no cholesterol.
"Margarine is higher in 'good' polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats than butter is… while butter is made from animal fat, so it contains cholesterol and high levels of saturated fat," Nelson says. "But not all margarines are created equal. Some contain trans fat, which, like saturated fat, increases blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease."
Opt for a tasty spread that has no trans fats, and "look for products with a low percent daily value for cholesterol," Nelson adds. One such option is Becel Buttery Taste Margarine, which has zero trans fats, zero cholesterol and provides 30 per cent of your daily vitamin D requirements with a 10-gram serving.
A highly nutritious fruit packed with potassium and fibre, bananas are a great snack and a healthy part of a balanced diet. They're also a starchy fruit high in carbohydrates, which is why some people are under the misconception that eating too many bananas can cause weight gain.
However, research by the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute has linked banana starch to the ability to actually burn fat after a meal. This is because bananas boast a specific type of carbohydrate called butyrate, an acid that might prevent your body from burning the carb. This prompts it to burn fatty tissue instead. So eating a banana is not only nutritious, but it could help aid you in reaching your health goals!
As the old wives' tale goes, celery contains so few calories that you'll burn more energy processing it than you'll consume by eating it. It sounds wonderful, and if it were true, anyone on a mission to drop some weight would be lining up for celery juices, soups and snacks.
The truth is that celery is indeed a low-calorie food: It has approximately 20 calories in 1 cup. Sadly, however, the effort required to chew your celery does not negate the calories you're consuming. On the plus side, celery is high in potassium and fibre, making it an excellent alternative to higher-calorie, less-nutritious snacks.
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