Have the Nutrients Expired in Your Food?
When Nutrients Expire
Buying in giant sizes to save money may not always be the best idea. Nutrients will expire, leaving you with food that has little or no nutritional value. It would help if manufacturers labeled - with an expiration date - the oils, teas, spices, and other foods we buy - but they do not. It's up to us to use foods before they expire. Storing them properly, in the meantime, will help retain as much of the nutrients as possible. Listed below are 6 foods that you may have in your kitchen right now and when they expire.
Expiration for 6 Foods:
1 - OliveOil - Olive oil loses 40% of its antioxidant properties after 6 months. It you use small quantities of olive oil, it's best to buy small bottles. Store it in a cabinet because the oil is sensitive to heat, light and oxygen. There is no way to know how long a bottle sat on a supermarket shelf - but purchasing a brand in a green glass bottle offers some protection from degradation due to light. (see link below for olive oil and its weight loss benefits)
2 - Green Tea - Green tea loses about 32% of its antioxidant properties (known as catechins) after 6 months. Green tea helps decrease the risk of several types of cancer. The tea is sensitive to both light and oxygen. If you use tea bags, remove them from the box and store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Loose tea should also be stored in a sealed container. I often buy loose tea in cans which helps keep them fresh. (There are so many kinds of green tea. For links on how to pick a Chinese green tea or a Japanese Green tea, see links below)
3 - Dried Spices and Herbs - Store all spices and herbs out of direct light and not near the stove - take them out of the cabinet when you are ready to use them. When they lose their vibrant color they are no longer nutrient-rich. Taste and aroma should be evident when using. Glass bottles are best because air can penetrate plastic. Capsaicin in chili powder begins to lose its nutritional value when you open the bottle, and will continue to do so for 9 months. When fresh, it can help fight certain cancers and contribute to weight loss. Ideally, it is best to buy whole spices and grind them as you need them. (For kitchen herbs and spices that aid digestion, see the link below)
4 - Potatoes - Root cellars were at one time used to store potatoes. In reading a homesteading book I read that potatoes can be stored for about 6 months. Unfortunately, farmers may keep potatoes for up to 5 months before shipping them. However, on the bright side, they will retain Vitamin C, which does not begin to decline until after about 8 months. Store your potatoes at home in a paper bag in a cool dark place and eat within a few weeks. New potatoes (those small ones) often have a bit more vitamin C. Note: Potatoes are heavily sprayed with pesticides and many are genetically modified (GM). It's best to buy organic.
5 - Berry Spreads/Jams - It's best to store berry jams in the fridge. Blueberry jam has anthocyanins (flavonoids) which are anti-inflammatory properties, and antioxidants which help preserve memory. Blueberry jam loses 23% of its benefits after 2 months. Strawberry lasts longer, and loses 12% of its benefits after 6 months. Berried Jams made without added sugar retain nutrients longer.
6 - Grains - Enriched grains begin to degrade almost immediately, by as much as 50%, after being exposed to light. Riboflavin in enriched pasta can degrade by as much as 80% after 3 months. This means all those boxes of pasta stored in the cupboard, may have little nutritional value. If you stock up on pasta, transfer it to opaque containers and away from the stove. The same with the enriched rices. Brown rice, however, should be stored in the refrigerator because it has a bit of oil.
See links below for additional information:
Herbs and Spices for Digestion
- 10 Cooking Herbs and Spices to Aid Digestion
Many of the common herbs and spices we regularly use for cooking are beneficial for digestion. Digestion is extremely important because it makes many of our organs work together to absorb, break down and...
- Something Other Than Rice as a Side Dish
Every night its rice, or maybe potatoes if you can find someone to peel them for you. If youd like something completely different for a change, here are some nutritious alternatives. All are easy to...
- How To Select A Japanese Green Tea
Green tea is now described as, The Science-Backed Miracle Cure thanks to its many nutrients and antioxidants. Green tea is made from unfermented leaves and reportedly contains the highest concentration...
- How to Select a Chinese Green Tea
Wild tea plants originated in China thousands of years ago. Then, as now, the choices are many and varied. Of all the teas on the market, green tea has earned the distinction of being described as the Science...
Olive Oil for Weight Loss
- Can a Daily Tablespoon of Olive Oil Help You Lose We...
Olive oil continues to get the recognition it deserves as part of a healthy diet. Recent research from Beloit College in Wisconsin, reported that taking 1 tablespoon per day, can help those trying to lose...