Every year, an estimated 48 million Americans become sick from foodborne illnesses and 128,000 are hospitalized due to them. Many of these infections could have been prevented if cooking tips had been followed more strictly.
Before and after handling food, always wash hands and surfaces with warm, soapy water to reduce cross-contamination risks. Separate raw meat, poultry or seafood along with their juices from ready-to-eat foods on separate platters and using separate utensils in order to avoid cross-contamination.
As with any form of food preparation, some nutrients are lost during the cooking process, but this loss can be minimized through short cooking times and lower temperatures. Boiling or simmering vegetables instead of frying is often more nutritious as long heating times cause vitamin loss. Also make sure that you always chew thoroughly as this can reduce risk for indigestion, gas and bloating.
According to Amanda Terillo cooking safely offers additional digestive advantages. Certain foods, like broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, can be more difficult to digest when eaten raw; cooking helps break down their tough fibers to make digestion simpler. Furthermore, safe cooking may improve digestibility of carbohydrates such as those found in potatoes and beans.
Cooking can actually alter the structure of certain strains of gut bacteria. This is essential, since certain strains of bacteria can contribute to digestive issues like indigestion and inflammation. By choosing to cook at home rather than dining out, you are more likely to consume foods that support a healthy microbiome – and ultimately improve digestion overall.
While it’s essential to consuming an array of fruits, vegetables and other nutritious whole foods on a regular basis, many people lack the time or energy to create meals from scratch on an ongoing basis. However, there are still ways you can get maximum value out of your diet regardless of how it’s prepared – by opting for boiled or steamed vegetables, roasting or boiling meats and avoiding overly-salted and sugary dishes; you can still achieve an effective healthy diet while enjoying tasty dishes; the key being using high-quality ingredients as well as using best cooking practices like never overcooking or burning your food when making dishes from scratch on an ongoing basis.
Increased Nutrient Absorption
Cooking food can make it easier for our bodies to absorb certain vitamins and minerals, like proteins, fats and some vitamins and minerals. But certain methods of preparation may decrease nutrient levels of healthy food; deep frying may add additional calories while decreasing omega-3 fats and certain vitamins found in avocados or fish products.
Maintaining clean cooking utensils and purchasing multifunctional kitchen appliances will make healthy cooking more accessible. Xtrema cookware and bakeware is designed for optimal performance in oven, broiler, dishwasher and freezer environments.
Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Of course, certain risk factors for heart disease cannot be controlled directly – including age, family history and genetics – but what you eat can still help lower the risks. Eating a diet consisting of lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy products, whole grains and vegetables can significantly lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood lipids levels in your system.
An unhealthy diet high in salt and processed meats may increase your risk of heart disease. Meats such as hot dogs, bacon and deli meats contain high concentrations of sodium that can raise your blood pressure and contribute to plaque build-up in arteries. Salt also increases your chances of having high blood sugar levels that could eventually lead to diabetes or obesity.
Cooking foods at high temperatures may release chemicals known as Neo-Formed Contaminants (NFCs), which research published by The Telegraph and The Sun suggests may contribute to an increased risk of heart disease. Furthermore, high temperature cooking produces trans-fatty acids and advanced Glycation End-Products linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease; hence it would be wiser to cook food at lower temperatures such as steaming rather than frying in order to protect one’s health.
Lower Risk of Cancer
Diets that include fruits, vegetables and whole grains have been shown to lower cancer risks. Although some risk factors, like family history and age are uncontrollable, others such as too much red meat consumption and smoking may be.
How you cook affects your cancer risk. High-heat cooking methods, such as frying, roasting and grilling produce carcinogenic substances known as heterocyclic aromatic amines (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which have the ability to alter DNA structures which increase cancer risks.
Reducing the amount of time meat is exposed to high heat, using foil when grilling, and discarding any charred sections can all help limit exposure to carcinogenic agents. Boiling or steaming offer lower heat options that require little fat.
Studies have consistently demonstrated the protective benefits of eating more vegetables and other plant foods to lower cancer risks; however, not all studies are equally rigorous, and some have produced mixed results.
A study in the Netherlands with a large cohort identified raw and cooked vegetable intake as weakly associated with cancer risk, likely due to recall bias and small sample sizes.
To reduce your risk of cancer, focus on eating fruits and vegetables that contain dark-green varieties, orange and yellow hues, peppers, tomatoes, onions and winter squash. Limit red meat to no more than 18 ounces each week in favor of fish, lean poultry and plant-based proteins; processed meats should also be limited and alcohol should only be drunk responsibly. When cooking vegetables longer you can keep water-soluble vitamins intact like vitamin C that are destroyed when microwaved.
Lower Risk of Diabetes
Eat healthily to reduce your risk for diabetes! Cooking at home is one key way of doing so, helping you avoid fatty, salty, high sugar foods as well as those high in added flour and added sugars. Incorporating less processed food (like packaged baked goods) also can help as they contain additional sugar, calories and fat; they often contain saturated and trans fats while being low in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
One study determined that participants who attended cooking classes increased their intake of FV, protein, and high-fiber starchy foods (no data provided on statistical significance), while simultaneously decreasing salt usage as well as fast, fried, fatty or sugary food at follow up visits.
Cooking methods have an enormous effect on how many nutrients we get from our food. Steaming, baking and boiling can all help preserve more nutrition from vegetables and meat while using high heat methods such as grilling or barbecuing can significantly lower levels of vitamin C, calcium and magnesium.
An appropriate and nutritious diet can lower your risk for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. When creating meals from scratch using fresh ingredients and without overdoing it on salt or sugar additions (as this could make healthy meals unhealthy). Try replacing salty condiments like butter with flavorful ingredients like spices, herbs lemon juice salsa. Substitute animal products for fish such as salmon tuna mackerel olive canola avocado corn oils that increase quality fat intake.