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HomeFood & WineHealthy cooking methods: Here’s what you need to know

Healthy cooking methods: Here’s what you need to know

As the culinary world advances with new technologies appearing, various innovative cooking methods have emerged over the years. The right cooking method does a lot more than just impact the taste of the food; it also ensures the nutritional value of the dish. On the other hand, a wrong cooking method can have adverse effects on your health. Recently, nutritionist Lovneet Batra took to Instagram to share three cooking methods one should avoid.

Take a look.

Air frying

According to the nutritionist, foods like meat and cheese become less nourishing when air-fried. When foods are exposed to high temperatures via dry cooking methods like air frying, Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs) are produced. Additionally, when you air fry foods, the hot air circulates to cook the food which can sometimes result in uneven cooking.

However, Zoya Surve, Head Dietician, Bhatia Hospital, Mumbai said that air fryer uses less heat to cook the food, thereby reducing 70 to 80 percent of oil used in deep frying. “Research has shown air fryer reduces the chemical acrylamide which increases the risk of cancer as this chemical compound is made when starchy foods are fried,” she added.

Similarly, Bhavisha Khuman, Nutritionist & Dietician, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre said, “Air frying can help retain more nutrients compared to deep frying, which often leads to significant nutrient loss. The shorter cooking time and lower heat exposure in air frying help preserve vitamins and minerals that may be diminished with other cooking methods.”

However, she stressed that air frying can be a safer and healthier alternative to deep frying, but it’s essential to consider the quality and type of food you’re cooking to make the most nutritious choices.

Grilling

grilling Grilling your food can potentially harm your health. (Source: Freepik)

Grilling can be a flavourful way to cook food. However, grilling at high temperatures and over an open flame can lead to the formation of potentially harmful compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), said Batra.

On the other hand, Surve said that grilling of foods is healthy as it reduces the intake of fat relatively in terms of other methods like frying. Moreover, certain amounts of nutrients are retained by the food item.

Adding to this, Khuman said, “Grilling imparts a unique smoky flavour to food, allowing you to enhance the taste without relying on excessive oils or sauces. This can be advantageous for individuals who want to reduce their added fat and calorie intake. Moreover, it is well-suited for cooking lean meats, such as chicken breast, fish, or certain cuts of beef as well as vegetables, fruits and even plant-based protein sources like tofu or tempeh.”

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Cooking in non-stick

Non-stick utensils have gained popularity overtime. They have made cooking easy and fuss-free. But cooking food in non-stick pans is extremely harmful. Batra shared that the coating of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known as Teflon, on non-stick pans can release toxins when exposed to high temperatures.

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On similar lines, Khuman noted that non-stick pans can wear out over time, especially with frequent use or improper cleaning. “Scratched or damaged coatings can pose health risks, as they may release small amounts of the coating into the food. So, if you have concerns about using non-stick pans, you can explore alternative options such as stainless steel, cast iron or ceramic cookware.”

Concluding, she said, “While there are no cooking methods that should be universally avoided, some cooking practices may have certain drawbacks or health considerations, such as deep frying, char-grilling and barbecuing, microwaving in plastic containers and overcooking.”

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