It’s been estimated that 75% of healthcare spending in the US goes toward treating preventable chronic illness. Most of those chronic illnesses are related to what and how we eat.
Countless lives could be saved and people could be spared the agony of painful illness and treatments.
As a nation we could save billions of dollars in healthcare spending. This money could go towards research, feeding the hungry, or treating illness beyond our control.
Every day, 3 times a day, you have the opportunity to dramatically improve your health!
You can improve your health by carefully choosing what you eat and how you eat it; because the way you cook your food affects your health.
So if you’re trying to improve your health, one of the first things to look at is how you cook your food. Do you fry most of your food or do you mostly grill, broil or bake?
Switching to healthier ways of cooking doesn’t have to be difficult, time consuming or boring. By making small and simple changes you can achieve big results in your health. And once you get used to doing things a little different, it will be simple and easy before long.
Limit Deep Frying
Better yet, stop deep frying altogether. One of the easiest ways to lower fat content and boost heart health is to skip frying foods. Frying foods adds a great deal of oil to your diet. And while fat is something our bodies need, we don’t need it in excess quantities.
Fat is full of extra calories. So the oil you’re adding to your food by frying it results in many extra calories your body doesn’t need. In addition, most oils used for frying are not the healthiest oils, good for heart health.
Instead of deep frying your foods, there are a number of healthier ways you can cook them. If you haven’t cooked much with these methods before, you’ll have to experiment to see which one works best for you.
One of the healthiest ways to cook is to use your grill. There are several different types of grills. If you prefer to use outdoor grills, you can use charcoal or propane. While grilling with a gas grill is quicker, it doesn’t have the same flavor.
Grilling can also be done indoors, of course. Indoor grills won’t give you the smoky flavor that you get from outdoor grills. However, they will help eliminate extra fat from cooking and it’s a fast way to cook.
Baking and Broiling
Using your oven is another option. Old fashioned baking and broiling produces delicious food without having to add excess fat. Baking is the process of cooking your food evenly. When you broil food, you use only the top element of your oven.
With baking you get a constant temperature in the oven and your oven will cut off and on to keep that steady temperature. With broiling, the top element will stay on constantly. This can produce the same type of effect as grilling your food.
Broiling works well for cooking steaks and other types of meat. You’ll have to turn the meat over in order to get consistent cooking on both sides. You’ll also need a broiler pan that allows fat to drip through to the bottom away from your food.
You can sauté your food in a pan as well. This is a type of frying, but you don’t need as much oil as you do with deep frying. For this type of frying you can usually use one or two tablespoons of oil as opposed to a quart of it.
You can also use the most heart healthy oils with pan frying. You’ll want to use oils that are monounsaturated. These oils actually help you to lower your cholesterol. Extra virgin olive oil is generally the best choice for heart health.
Steaming is another powerful way to cook. This is especially good for cooking veggies. You can purchase a special steamer or convert a pan into a steamer by inserting a steaming basket.
Add a little water to the pan, add your steaming basket and then put the veggies on top of it. Cover the basket and let the steam cook your veggies. Yum!
Steaming food doesn’t take a long time and it’s one of the best ways you can cook to preserve the nutrients in food.
One of the greatest tools you can purchase for your kitchen is a slow cooker. This is a healthy way to cook in addition to being a real time saver.
With slow cookers you can add ingredients to the pot, set the temperature, and walk away for hours while the cooker does the work for you.
Choosing Healthy Fats and Substitutions
Frequently when people become aware of the importance of eating healthy and cooking healthy, they try to eliminate all fats from their diet. However, our bodies need fats in order to function properly. So it’s important to understand the difference between a healthy and unhealthy fat.
Unhealthy fats are those that are saturated. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and are found in most meats and dairy products. Saturated fats can clog arteries and cause heart problems. Try to limit your intake of saturated fats.
Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. They’re healthier for the body and actually contribute to good heart health – especially the monounsaturated fats. These fats come from plant sources. Some foods where you’ll find healthy fats include:
- Olive oil, safflower oil, soybean oil
- Flaxseed oil (can be added to food, but not used to cook)
- Nuts – almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, etc.
When you’re cooking, you’ll want to use these types of fats as much as possible. Adding nuts or avocado to a dish can boost the heart healthy fats, while adding delicious flavor.
When you’re baking, you can make substitutions for fats. For example, if a cake or brownie recipe calls for oil you can substitute it with applesauce or carrot puree. These will give the same texture and moisture but without the fat.
By just making a simple change in what you eat and how you cook, you will improve your health, lower your risk for illness and perhaps even increase your lifespan.
Not to mention you’ll be doing your part to getting this country healthy!