Cooking is a science. Food is termed healthy when it is cooked healthy and eaten healthy! Fresh and natural food is so vulnerable to cooking methods that if you do not follow the right method, by the time the food reaches your plate, it may be very tasty but cannot be guaranteed healthy! It is easy to judge the volatile factor of any foods. For example, foods that contain moisture in its natural form are very volatile to cooking methods like all fruits and vegetables and all the greens. Foods like whole cereals, grains, pulses are dry therefore are very less volatile to heat and cooking methods. Meat and fish contain all the nutrients trapped in the muscle. Thus proper heat is necessary to release the nutrients and juices.
With the advancement of technology, we now have electric stoves, which exemplify slow cooking methods. Slow cooking methods can be advantageous for many foods like the raw vegetables and fruits. However, may not always work in the favor of making chapattis, pulses, and rice since slow cooking increases their glycemic index. It isn’t just the cooking technique that matters when considering the health of your meal. Even when you choose an extremely healthy option, such as steaming, adding high levels of salt, sugar or fat to your food can negate any health benefits you might have gotten otherwise. Choose healthy ingredients to begin with and season them with spices and herbs to ensure that you get the most health and flavor out of whatever cooking technique you might use.
Did you know?
1) Whole pulses should be soaked over night before cooking because soaking increases the enzyme activity and make it easy to digest food. Some do practice cooking with a pinch of salt without over night soaking.
2) Sprouting them further activates many enzymes that may remain inactive even after pressure-cooking. More enzymes in your food contents, higher the digestion, greater the absorption.
3) If you cook any starch containing foods like potatoes, rice, pasta and noodles for too long in water, the starch molecules swell, thus increasing their gylcemic index. Foods with high glycemic index increases sugar levels and thus contribute to obesity. Therefore always cook starches to “al dente” state
4) Boiling vegetables on high flame loses their micronutrients. Best is to cook in steam on a medium flame. Vegetables themselves have enough moisture that can soften them with medium flame.
5) To practice healthy frying, steam the vegetables until semi done and the shallow fry them. One of the healthiest ways to cook French-fries at home. Steaming causes the starch to swell, which will further decrease the oil absorption when shallow fried.
6) Marinate your vegetables, tofu, cottage cheese, chicken in curd and species before grilling or BBQ. This will help you to avoid additional fat coat over it generally used to add spices and flavor.
You can further change your everyday cooking practices like avoiding iron knives for cutting, always uncover the vessel while blanching spinach because covering the vessel will result in oxalate retention in spinach which is one of the reasons for kidney stones. Make sure you wash your cooking range well with soap and ensure the grease is out. Any grease remains may impose risk to heart related issues. Use non-stick cookware for pan frying, deep-frying and even tossing.
Cooking is not just an art but also a science. All the do’s and don’ts may look like a long list to follow or remember. However once you consciously put in the efforts to correct your cooking methods, it will go with the flow. This is a wake up call to all the housewives, mothers, actually who so ever is cooking in the house. I can be sure of that we all have at least one member in the house who is consciously following healthy lifestyle and eating habits. Either our kids, or siblings, may be husbands or even our grannies! When they are putting enough efforts, I guess it is wise to boost their results with our cooking methods.