Written by Millionaire’s Digest Staff Member: Charlene Ryan
Founder & Owner of: Fit, Healthy, Happy Home
Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor, Healthy Living and Successful Living Writer
Do you think healthy food prep only involves adding in the vegetables? Or not using so much butter, or not frying your foods?
When you study culinary chemistry even a little, you begin to understand how compounds form, and possibly harmful chemical reactions. You would also learn that the processes we use for convenience, such as freezing food, takes away somewhat from its nutritional content.
What does this mean to the average cook?
The following processes can over time harm your health: by way of premature aging, susceptibility to cancer, and weight gain.
1. Using olive oil for cooking
Many other oils should not be over heated as well. The ones you can trust are sesame, coconut, and avocado. Cooked oils in general increases free radical development and denatures the oil, making it hard for our bodies to metabolize. In addition, refined oils which are made to cook with, are already denatured when you buy them.
2. Over steaming vegetables
This not only reduces vitamin content, it reduces or eliminates the cellulose fiber which is important for overall health. Fiber is a key substance for digestive health and weight loss.
3. Cooking and/or heating everything you eat
The more cooked food we eat the more digestive enzymes are needed to process our food. over time this wears out our organs. The enzymes present in raw food digest the food pretty much on its own. Think about how when you cut into an apple, it turns brown. Those are the enzymes breaking down the food. When you chew an apple, all that enzyme action mixed with your saliva is all that is needed to digest the apple. Apple sauce on the other hand, which has been cooked, requires additional enzymes and insulin to process it.
4. Frying Food
This created free radicals when an electron escapes; without antioxidants around free radicals wreak havoc in our bodies. Many chemical changes involved make the food carcinogenic.
5. Blackened and browned foods bad for your health
The browning process which takes place in frying french fries, potato chips, and other starchy fried foods produces acrylamide,a carcinogen.
Blackened pieces of meat are also carcinogenic. It is best to avoid charred meats and fried foods, in general.
6. Always scrambling your eggs.
The more oxygen that gets into the fat-containing cells of your food, the more oxidation fats get into you! Oxygen damages, ages, and creates the production of free radicals. And just for your info, the healthiest eggs are either poached, or if you have your own hens and take good care of them, don’t be afraid to have a raw egg once in a while. I heard of a woman who ate raw eggs every day and she claims this to be the reason for her longevity of 100+ years. Think: less frying, overcooking and allowing the oxidation of fats (such as in using cooking oil–mentioned above)
The following processes and/or habits reduce the nutrients in you food:
1. Peeling all your vegetables
Just under the skin is a ton of nutrients. Don’t skin your food! you also get important fiber and antioxidants in many of the colorful skins like apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.
You can even grate your ginger root without peeling it.
2. Buying store-bought prepared foods that weren’t thoughtfully prepared.
One example is: deli meat with preservatives and sodium nitrite and nitrate, added colors and excessive salt. nitrosamines are added to inhibit bacterial enzyme development and off flavors. Additionally most prepared store-bought foods contain excess salt, possibly yeast extracts (contain MSG), and unless labeled as Non-GMO, you could be consuming a lot of modified ingredients.
3. Buying meat and fish in bulk and freezing it for later use.
As raw meat freezes, the growing crystals protrude into the soft cell membranes and puncture them. When the meat is thawed the ice crystals, melt and unplug the holes they’ve made in the muscle cells, and the tissue as a whole readily leaks fluid rich in salts, vitamins, proteins, and pigments. Fat oxidation also occurs as the loss of water leaks from the muscle.
The faster you freeze your meat, the smaller the crystals are that form. Try freezing it in small portions unwrapped, then wrap it when it’s frozen.Otherwise, when possible, buy your meat fresh and cook it within recommended times.
For fish, keeping it on ice is the best method for its freshness. Use within recommended time.
4. Purchasing low-quality products just because of the lower price.
Two great examples of good versus bad are your meat and dairy. Grass-fed beef and dairy products contain healthy fats whereas conventionally raised cattle who are fed grains and given antibiotics contain harmful, artery-clogging fats.
5. Buying non-organic fruits and vegetables.
If you start with the freshest, chemical-free foods, you will be fresh, healthy and free from pesticides and herbicides and you will acquire more nutrients from your food.
Although there are many more things to consider for healthy food prep, the above is a start towards better healthy cooking.
Article Credits: Charlene Ryan
Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor