Staying fit is not just about choosing to consume healthy foods but also preparing them in the right way and using ideal temperatures. What most people do not know is that cooking at an extremely high temperature is harmful because it may create chemical reactions. These chemical reactions among sugars and creatines with other compounds produce harmful complexes that may damage the DNA structure. Healthy food preparation can help to avoid obesity and other food-related diseases. Below are tips for cooking healthy foods.
Roasting is a healthy way of preparing some foods because it helps to avoid cooking oils and fats accumulation. However, roasting bread and potatoes among other starchy foods may be risky to a person’s health especially when they are overcooked. Acrylamide, a potential human carcinogen, can form after foods containing the amino acid, asparagines, react chemically due to high temperatures. It is worth noting that potato chips have large quantities of acrylamide.
This compound does not form when cooking at low temperature. Therefore, it is recommended to roast foods at a low heat for the best health benefits. Acrylamide forms when food is roasted until it turns dark. When roasting, do it at a low temperature to allow the food to turn golden yellow or brown.
Boiling and Steaming
The healthiest method of cooking meat is by steaming or boiling it. This method is also applicable to other products. And steaming and boiling are both healthy methods of cooking because the food is cooked at lower temperatures.
Additionally, for people who want to keep fit and those who wish to reduce weight, these methods are effective at reducing the number of calories in food because butter or oil are not used. Furthermore, boiling and steaming are also applicable to other numerous food types apart from meat products. For example, vegetables can be prepared by steaming at low temperatures to soften them since, for some types of food, steaming is better than boiling. Boiling may lead to leaching of water-soluble nutrients such as vitamin C. When these nutrients dissolve in water; food becomes less nutritious.
One tip for preparing meat using this method is cutting it into thin pieces. Meat can be marinated using lemon and vinegar. Another great way of marinating is using herbs such as rosemary and thyme which form a barrier against harmful HCAs when grilling. Food is placed below an electric coil, on a grill or below a burner.
Roasting and broiling are different because the latter involves turning the food to allow it to cook each side separately. Broiling also requires higher temperatures than roasting. This method is suitable for red meat and fish. The technique ensures that meat does not lose its nutritious contents nor form harmful complexes while cooking.
Most people love this method because the food tastes crispy. Grilling is not recommended for daily use, but it is excellent if used once in a while. If food is not well grilled, it leads to the formation of PAHs and HCAs which are harmful to the body. While grilling, it is important to avoid overcooking until the food turns dark. Blackened pieces should be cut away to reduce health risks. Another tip is to flip the meat often to avoid overcooking. Also, using an oven to pre-cook meat before grilling is recommended.
Poaching is quite similar to boiling. The best thing about this method is that additives are not used. Poaching refers to the cooking method where food is placed in hot water. Some valuable tips for this method are to avoid using a lot of water and ensuring that it does not go beyond the boiling point.
This method is slow, but the food is thoroughly cooked with time. Another health benefit of poaching is that nutrients are retained. However, if food is soluble, this method is not recommended because nutrients will dissolve. Poaching is an excellent method of preparing foods such as eggs and fish. Boiled eggs are nutritious because they do not lose nutrient. Oils are not used for this method thus calories are kept at low levels.
Some foods do not need to be cooked because they are edible when raw. However, this method is not applicable to all types of foods. This method can be combined with other healthy ways of preparing food such as boiling and roasting. Eating raw food significantly decreases cancer risks. This method is limited to certain foods such as plants. Eating raw vegetables such as cabbages leads to the consumption of large amounts of minerals and vitamins.
Another notable benefit of eating raw food is that cooking fats and sugar are not added thus reducing the number of calories consumed. However, eating raw meat is not recommended due to the presence of harmful compounds in uncooked meat.