Our cooking habits can negatively affect our wellbeing without even knowing it. In this article a few common cooking methods are revealed that make our food less healthy.
Overcooked meals can be toxic. If the food is made at very high temperature, it is already charred. Burned food results in chemicals and byproducts that can be associated with cancer.
Cooking meat on the barbecue, grill, or pan-frying it, usually is done on a very high temperature. Experts claim that temperature around 150°C is already not recommended. The burned meat contains two chemicals (heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) that are responsible for changes in our DNA that might end up in creating cancer.
The first chemical is released when amino acids and creatine react to high temperature. Meanwhile the second one is the reaction of fat, dripping onto the fire/heat and creating smoke. The fumes contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that can affect other food as well.
Practise indirect heat/flame cooking. Don’t eat burned food, cut those edges out. Turn your meats many times. In addition, vegetables are very sensitive to high temperature, so pay more attention and choose lower heat to prevent any loss of their nutrients.
All healthy lifestyle supporters will agree that it is the devil’s invention. This strong description is used not to emphasise the amount of extra calories that this cooking technique adds. On the contrary, it is about revealing a dark and dangerous side of it. Some particular foods, fried at high temperature, release a chemical called acrylamide.
This chemical is known for its industrial use, e.g. treating wastewater and making paper. It also can be found in cigarette smoke. So, are you still thinking about fried potatoes?
The researchers still are working on studying the consequences of this chemical. Rodents tested disclose the risks of several types of cancer. Anyway, deep-frying foods cause other health issues like heart disease and diabetes.
In case it is too difficult to give it up completely, try to decrease the consumption. Also, choose healthier options: baked or cooked in an air fryer.
Heating the Wrong Oils
Oils are most necessary ingredient in the kitchen and the variety to choose from is quite wide. Oil accompanies almost each meal. Unfortunately, often we are missing correct knowledge how to use it properly.
Be mindful when cooking with polyunsaturated oils like corn, sunflower, and soybean oils, at high temperature. It rises the risk of getting cancer. It is only because of polyunsaturated fat that these oils are full of. Meantime, olive oil, which contains monounsaturated fats, is much safer option. Heat doesn’t make it toxic, because natural antioxidants withstand the heat better comparing with above mentioned ones.
Speaking about frying, canola oil or peanut oil are the best option for this cooking method. These oils are monounsaturated and has a high smoke point.
It is important to emphasize, that polyunsaturated oils are healthy too, it is just the way we use them makes the difference. Use them without intense heating as salad dressing, stir over steamed vegetables or a soup, they are a source of heart-healthy fats.
General tips for healthier choices
Use less seasoning
Seasoning can be a trap. Usually it leads to sodium excess. We are tended to use salt, chicken stock and soya sauce more than necessary. Sometimes, we can even end up with a “brilliant idea” to mix them all. Too much of salt in the body leads to water retention and skin problems. We should give priority to healthy seasoning options like cinnamon, black pepper or turmeric.
Also, let’s admit and be honest with ourselves, too many spices in our meals causes food addiction, which means we will eat more of it than necessary to feel satisfied. So, here comes the danger to our health and shape.
Avoid using butter to add extra flavour
Even though butter makes the food much tasty, but at the same time it costs us our waistline. In addition, butter contains trans and saturated fat that could negatively affect our circulatory system.
Overestimating how much oil you need
Go easy with the amount of the oil used in cooking. A tablespoon of oil has about 100 to 150 calories. So, measure the use of oil when cooking in order to avoid surplus of calories.
Hopefully this knowledge will help you to take healthy cooking decisions.