While choosing whole, organic ingredients over processed food is crucial for a healthy diet, the way we prepare them is also important to improve digestibility and increase their vitamin and mineral bioavailability.

At Comptoir 102 restaurant, we focus on traditional methods of preparation for optimal health. Discover some of our healthy food preparation secrets below...

Soak, sour and sprout for minerals

All grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans are meant to sprout to develop in a plant. To prevent premature sprouting of the plant before the conditions are optimal, nature provided them with an array of antinutrients – phytates, and enzyme inhibitors for example.

These antinutrients not only cause reduced mineral absorption but actually rob the body from its own minerals and reduces digestibility.

By soaking grains, legumes, nuts and seeds in water (up to one night before), sprouting them (in a jar for 2 to 4 days after soaking) or fermenting (sourdough), the antinutrients are neutralized and minerals are properly absorbed.

–Soak your oats before cooking porridge and you will increase zinc and iron absorption by about 50%.

–Sprout your beans and get 70% more iron into your body.

–Choosing sourdough bread will get you more magnesium and folate.

Fermenting is the new hype

Quinoa is so 2000. Health food hipsters are throwing sauerkraut parties and drinking homemade ginger beer, because they know fermented food is their best friend. All traditional cultures used fermentation process not only as a way of preserving food, but also increasing its vitamin content and beneficial bacteria. Think kimchi, cheese, kombucha, yogurt, pickles... And not only can you make these at home, it's also very easy.

Fermented food boost the digestive and immune system, increase the antioxidant content and have be shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers and auto-immune diseases. 

 Preparing food the healthy way – a new column from Comptoir 102

Slow cook your meals

While cooking will destroy the water-soluble vitamins (B and C), it actually increases the availability of other vitamins by breaking down the cell walls of the plants, thus making them available to your precious body.

So think again before you cold press your bunch of carrots with love. You would need about 20 raw carrots to obtain the same amount of beta-carotene of a single cooked carrot stick. Light cooking is the best; prefer steaming or slow cooking on low heat.

 Preparing food the healthy way – a new column from Comptoir 102

Go raw!

Sometimes, the best thing is simply to do nothing. Cooking, peeling, and cutting can destroy vitamin content by exposing it to air and oxidation and an apple is just best freshly picked and eaten raw. Heat, especially in the process of pasteurization, also alters the protein chains. When you have a choice, favour raw milk, raw cheese or raw eggs in a homemade mayonnaise.

 Preparing food the healthy way – a new column from Comptoir 102

Do you want to know more about healthy food and try some of our energizing wholesome dish? Come in our restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or participate to one of our cooking workshop.

Comptoir 102 is located at 102 Beach Road, Jumeirah 1 in Dubai