Don’t Drop the Ball at Home, be Gentle with Broccoli, & Freeze it Fast.

9 Dec

Dr. Michael F. Roizen

Co-Author of 4 #1 NY Times Bestsellers including: YOU Staying Young.

The Owner’s Manual For Extending Your Warranty (Free Press)

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you, and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the  quality and length of your life.

Just because Mother Nature packs nutrients into fruits and vegetables more tightly than commuters on a Japanese subway doesn’t guarantee that the good stuff will last forever. How you treat produce before you eat it has a big impact on how many nutrients are still there when you consume it. Here’s how to handle three favorites:

1. Keep uncut watermelon out of the fridge. That’s a big whew, since there’s never room for one anyway. Whole watermelons stored at room temperature deliver more cell-protecting phytonutrients (specifically lycopene and beta carotene) than melons that are refrigerated or even fresh off the farm. That’s because watermelons continue to ripen and build phytonutrients after they’re picked and a big chill cuts that process short. For a cool treat, chill the sliced fruit right before serving (and of course store any leftovers in the fridge).

2. Slice fresh fruit yourself. Pre-cut fruit saves time but it opens the door for vitamin C to escape. Kiwifruit, pineapple, and cantaloupe seem particularly prone to vitamin C loss, according to one of our favorite physician/chefs, John La Puma, MD.

3. Be gentle with broccoli. Cooking broccoli at too high a temperature decreases levels of sulforaphane, its main cancer-fighting nutrient. Light cooking, however, actually boosts that good-for-you compound. Cooking broccoli to 140 degrees is ideal (158 degrees was the point at which sulforaphane content dropped)—but if you don’t want to make a science project out of your broccoli, know that lightly steaming or sautéing it does the trick.

Don’t drop the ball at home! Maintain your fridge at 40°F or lower, and keep hot foods at 140 degrees or hotter (not broccoli, though). You usually can’t see, smell, or taste disease-causing bacteria in food. But at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, these dangerous germs multiply faster than rabbits in a pet store. So keep hot foods piping hot and cold foods frosty cold. Refrigerate perishables, prepared foods, and leftovers within two hours of buying, cooking, or serving. Wash all produce multiple times.  Keep your hands, knives, cutting boards, and countertops clean while preparing food and use separate knives and boards for meats and produce.

Freeze it fast. Limit how long you leave raw meats in the fridge: 1-2 days for fish, ground meats, sausage, and poultry and 3-5 days for beef, pork, or veal. If it’s going to be longer, freeze it. This won’t kill existing bacteria but it will prevent more from growing quickly.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to send more questions–you can always send us questions at , and some of them we may know enough to answer (we’ll try to get answers for you if we do not know).

Young Dr Mike Roizen (aka, The Enforcer)

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