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Every time food is being cooked, there is a choice of preparation method. Some methods are healthier than others. The choices made when cooking influence the total calories in the meal and the nutritional benefits, and these choices can affect health. Switching from unhealthy to healthy cooking methods is an easy, beneficial change to make.Preparing food healthfully allows to eat less unhealthy fats, thus potentially reducing risk of health complications. A part from improper sanitation and hygiene leading to increases in diseases, improper cooking patterns also leads to malnutrition and diseases

Digestion, Obesity and heart disease are the major factors to consider when choosing how to prepare foods or when requesting certain cooking methods for foods to be eaten in a restaurant 

Unhealthy Cooking methods :

Unhealthy cooking methods such as exposing food to high temperatures for longer duration leads to release of certain toxins from food that are hazardous. The unhealthy cooking methods are

Grilling & Roasting : Foods which are cooked at high temperatures for a longer period of time, leads to production of Acrylamide in large quantities. Fried, grilled, roasted, starchy foods like rice, sweet potato, potatoes, toast, cakes, biscuits, coffee are some examples of food which get browned easily and release acrylamide faster which causes cancer and many lung disorders. Also avoid cooking refrigerated potatoes as they free up sugars which combine with aminoacids while cooking and release acrylamide faster. Foods when attained golden brown color should be stopped cooking as over browning could lead to release of acrylamide 

Broiling & Barbequing : Open flame method of cooking such as broiling, barbequing, roasting at high temperature leads to breaking of molecules, attracting infectious agents from the environment, energising and synthesis of the bacteria which can tolerate and grow at high temperature causing various other diseases such as rotavirus, hepatitis, Norovirus, diarrhea, Non alcoholic fatty acid liver (NAFLD)  and abdominal cramps

Boiling : Steaming rather than boiling vegetables is much better, as boiling for a prolonged period of time at high temperatures reduces the nutritional qualities by breaking the molecules and generates toxins which leads to certains hormonal complications like thyroid malfunctions, diabetes, hypertension, Fatigue, drowsiness and nutrient malabsorption

Charring : Charring certain food items such as sugar, bell peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, onion, cheese, marshmallow, butter, non veg  for longer period of time for a better taste, may release toxins such as Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which causes inflammation of cells and tissues, breast cancer, kidney cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.

Pan Frying : Another sin of abolishing  food and toxifying it is, by pan frying it. Since the temperature is not stable during the entire procedure of cooking, this method leads to the formation of acrylamide and absorbs more oil. The darker the colour of  food by frying, higher the level of acrylamide, Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) which are carcinogenic.

Microwaving : Over usage of microwave cooking also has an adverse effect on food because it produces waves which penetrate into the food and break the nutrients which remain undigested in the body and damages the cell, later excreted out of the body as an excretory waste.

Microwaving in Plastic Containers : Warming or cooking food in plastic containers may lead to expanding and expelling of plastic molecules into food and making the food carcinogenic.

Deep frying : Deep frying not only adds excess fat to food but also oxidises PUFA, killing all the nutrients and turns them carcinogenic. The nutrients which are present in food are destroyed by the  heavy temperature of oil and thus the food becomes nutrient deficient.

Other Cooking mistakes Impacting Overall Health

  • Kitchen fumes : Apart from toxins released in food through faulty cooking patterns, kitchen smokes and fumes are also hazardous, as they release aldehydes which  affect in an adverse way on the body. Lung cancer, low birth weight & still births in new born babies are commonly observed. Sunflower oil release more fumes of aldehydes when compared to rapeseeds oil, coconut oil & palm oil
  • Smoking pointThe smoke point, also referred to as the burning point, is the temperature at which an oil or fat begins to produce a continuous bluish smoke that becomes clearly visible. Heating oil beyond this temperature releases certain fatty acids, Oleocanthal, Aldehydes and acrolein. These compounds bind to amino acids and DNA, leading to change in the structure of DNA, making it a potential carcinogen and causing health issues such as early menopause, PCOD, Irregular menses, infertility.  Coconut oil and Olive oil has a relatively low smoking point and can be used feasibly when compared to other seeds oil.
  • Sugars : Sugars are consumed through cakes, pastries, beverages, table sugar to increase palatability, but higher amounts of sugar consumption is linked to a surge in  huge amounts of dopamine secretions which can cause aggressive behaviour in a person.
  • Excessive use of plastics : Warming, Serving, Plating of hot food in plastic containers may leads to seeping of plastic into the food, thus making the food carcinogenic

Thus, selecting suitable cooking methods play a significant role in determining the nutrient content of the particular food. A food can be made toxic or healthy based on the cooking methods. So it is advisable to make ideal choices to avoid health complications and to minimise nutritional losses.

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