What you eat is important. But how you cook is equally important. Some nutrients are water-soluble and some are heat-sensitive, these may be completely destroyed by some cooking methods. Some cooking methods completely denature the proteins and render them useless. And some methods oxidize the fats and produce trans fats. Some cooking methods produce toxic, inflammatory and carcinogenic substances and Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs) making them unsafe for consumption.
Read on to find out which cooking methods you should be avoiding:
Smoking your meat gives it a mouth-watering flavor but it sure has some health risks. Smoked meats are associated with a high risk of certain cancers due to the presence of carcinogens such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from wood smoke. Also, nitrosamines which are by-products of curing agents such as nitrites and nitrates are also carcinogenic. Smoked meats are also high in sodium and are best avoided.
While barbecuing meat makes it taste great, it does pose some health issues too. When fat from the meat drops on the charcoal, it produces carcinogenic and inflammatory substances like PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and HCAs (hetero cyclic amines). Most barbecue sauces have hidden sugars and MSG too. Make barbecues an occasional treat and don’t overcook/ char your meats.
3. Charring due to grilling at high temperature
Charring the food while grilling oxidizes the fat and produces inflammatory substances. It also denatures the protein rendering them useless and in some cases even harmful. More grilling means more glycation and more AGEs. AGEs can be mutagenic, carcinogenic and inflammatory too. Grilling should be done to an extent when the outside of the food is barely brown and the inside is grilled minimum to rare.
Deep frying oxidizes oil and results in the production of trans fat. Deep frying any food not only makes it bathe in oxidized oil, it also denatures protein because of the high temperature and results in the production of AGEs.Deep fried foods are high on calories too. If you still want to deep fry occasionally, chose desi ghee (or clarified butter) as your cooking medium since it has one of the highest smoke points and doesn’t oxidize easily.
The use of microwave tends to create high amounts of electromagnetic fields in the kitchen. The use of microwave should be limited to a few convenient tasks and shouldn’t be used for cooking entirely. Better still, cook your veggies and reheat them in your karahi; for baking, use a convection oven.
The best cooking methods are those which lead to minimum nutrient loss by exposing food to medium-high temperature for minimum duration and don’t result in production of toxic substances. Depending upon the food item, one should chose from boiling, sautéing, stir-frying, steaming, poaching, fermenting, sprouting, and grilling(just enough so that the food is light brown from outside and cooked properly from the inside). Include a good helping to raw or uncooked food items like fruits and veggies in your diet too.
(Pooja Malhotra is a city-based nutritionist)
4 Simple Tips To Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals And A Healthy Living
Health is wealth! But in the today’s world where everyone is so occupied with work do we actually pay attention to our lifestyle. Well! Not really. After all, what does it actually take to lead a healthy lifestyle? A healthy lifestyle is extremely important as it helps to improve your health and well-being. There are a lot many different things that you can do to live a healthy lifestyle. These include eating healthy and nutritious foods, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, adequate sleep and managing your stress. A healthy lifestyle is not just about eating wholesome meals and regular physical exercise. There is much more to that. It is also about your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Health expert Luke Coutinho in his recent Instagram post talks about keeping life simple and healthy.
Top 4 simple and effective tips for better overall health:
1. Clean balanced meals
Eating balanced and healthy meals is extremely essential for a healthy lifestyle. Your meals should include healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, dairy products, whole grains, healthy fats, and omega-3 fatty acids. Also, you should avoid unhealthy foods like red and processed meats, high-calorie foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and excessive sodium. A healthy diet will be beneficial for your overall health and keep you away from chronic diseases.
2. Some movement
Movement is a key to a healthy life. Some sort of physical activity is very necessary. Not just few times a week but everyday. Exercising daily can boost your overall health in many ways. It can help increase your life span, lower the risk of diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, help you develop strong bones, and manage your weight. For this, you can simply especially for close distances, choose walking or cycling over driving or taking transportation. You can climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator. You can pick up simple exercises that are easy to do at home or outside that you enjoy. For instance, Zumba, aerobics, running, swimming or may be playing your favourite sport.
3. Adequate sleep
You might ignore this one but sleep is very important. It helps your body to heal and rest, so you must not ignore on your sleep. Lack of sleep may lead to poor health outcomes like obesity, diabetes, and even certain heart diseases. Continued lack of sleep can lead to a weak immune system and make you more prone to cold and the flu.
You can do some simple things to ensure that you sleep better at night. You can avoid caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime. Also, avoid eating heavy meals before bedtime. Physical exercise can also help you sleep better at night. But avoid strenuous workouts close to bedtime.
Though it is difficult to avoid stress in today’s world. But simple measures can always be taken to reduce stress. As stress again could lead to high blood sugar levels, hypertension and can even affect your heart. So practice some deep breathing exercises, meditation and yoga to manage stress. Also, try reaching out to friends, family and relatives quite often. This will help you remain positive and happy all the time.
Facing Digestion Issues? This Quick After-Meal Mix Can Help You!
Has it been long since digestive issues have been interfering with your health? Poor digestion is undoubtedly a sign of poor health and there is something that you must do about it . We have previously spoken about different kinds of foods that can help improve digestion. In this article, we will talk about an after-meal digestive mix suggested by lifestyle coach Luke Coutinho. This digestive mix consists of simple ingredients which can be easily found in Indian households. This after-meal digestive needs 5 ingredients, namely fennel seeds, sesame seeds, chopped almonds, flax, and ajwain. All these foods are popular for their benefits on digestive health.
Here are some benefits of Luke Coutinho’s after-meal digestive mix:
1. Fennel seeds: Fennel seeds are commonly consumed after meals. Many restaurants provide fennel seeds after food. Fennel seeds are highly popular for their digestive benefits. They can also help in getting relief from flatulence, painful periods, boosting metabolism, regulating blood sugar and improving hydration.
2. Sesame seeds: Dietary fibre in sesame seeds help in improving digestion. They provide your body with the required fibre which is needed for improving digestion. Fibre helps in improving gut bacteria. 100 gm of sesame seeds contain around 12 g of fibre. This amount, when combined with other fibre-rich foods, can restore digestive system in the body.
3. Almonds: Almonds too are rich in fibre. When consumed in the appropriate quantities, almonds can help in improving digestive health. Almonds can provide beneficial gut bacteria. Vitamin -E rich almonds are great for heart health and eye health.
4. Flax: Flax seeds are loaded with nutrients like protein, carbs, fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, B-vitamins and much more. Content of dietary fibre in flax seeds can be beneficial for your digestive health. Including flax seeds in your diet can assure regular bowel movements.
5. Ajwain: Chewing ajwain or carom seeds can help in easing gas and flatulence. Carom seeds are full of thymol which helps in secreting gastric juices that aid digestion. For years, ajwain has been used a home remedy for curing indigestion. You can consume it in small quantities as it tastes slightly spicy.
For preparing Luke Coutinho’s after-meal digestive mix, you simply need to mix all of the above ingredients in a glass jar. A teaspoon of this mix after your meals every day can bring significant improvement to your digestion.
(Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach – Integrative Medicine)
Know how to counter ill effects of long-time sitting
These are the findings of a recent study which appear in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The results highlight the importance of movement — regardless of its intensity or amount of time spent moving — for better health.
“Our findings underscore an important public health message that physical activity of any intensity provides health benefits,” said lead author Keith Diaz of Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
About one in four adults spends more than eight hours a day sitting, according to a recent study.
In a previous paper, Diaz and his team discovered that adults who sat for long stretches at a time — an hour or more without interruption — had a greater risk of early death than those who were sedentary for the same total amount of time but got up and moved around more often.
They also found that people who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death, suggesting that taking movement breaks every half-hour could lower your risk of death.
But just how intense, and for how long, does the physical activity need to be to counter the ill effects of sitting?
The study found that replacing just 30 minutes of sitting with low-intensity physical activity would lower the risk of early death by 17 per cent, a statistically significant decrease. Swapping the same amount of sitting for moderate to vigorous activity would be twice as effective, cutting the risk of early death by 35 per cent. The researchers also found that short bursts of activity — of just a minute or two — provided a health benefit.
“If you have a job or lifestyle that involves a lot of sitting, you can lower your risk of early death by moving more often, for as long as you want and as your ability allows — whether that means taking an hour-long high-intensity spin class or choosing lower-intensity activities, like walking,” Diaz said.