Make How you Cook as Healthy as What you Cook

For many people, cooking “healthfully” means choosing hormone-free dairy products, organic vegetables, and beef raised without antibiotics. But to cook truly healthfully, you need to pay as much attention to how you are cooking as to what you are cooking. If you are making an effort to select healthy products at the market, keep them healthy once you get them home!

Numerous studies from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and others have found that certain toxins and carcinogens, including HCAs and PAHs, are released when you cook at higher than steaming/boiling temperatures. In laboratory experiments, HCAs and PAHs have been found to be mutagenic—that is, they cause changes in DNA that may increase the risk of cancer.

High temperatures cause amino acids and sugars to react and create the good flavors and smells you associate with browned meats, grilled veggies, and toasted bread. But if your cooking temps go too high you go from “browning” to producing carcinogens. The trick is to stay in a temperature range from about 140 C to 180 C (284 F to 356 F). You still will get plenty of browning at those temperatures but you will avoid the carcinogens that form at higher temperatures.

If you’re serious about maintaining good health, try to reduce high-temperature cooked foods in your diet. It doesn’t mean you have to stop grilling or eliminate fried foods entirely, as your liver can provide some detox, but reducing the amount that you consume can support good health.

Here are some easy ways to make how you cook as healthy as what you cook!

Dana Sundblad
Dana Sundblad
Dana is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with over 20 years experience helping companies achieve awareness and financial goals in consumer, technology, and non-profit industries. Most recently she was Director of Communications at Castilleja School and began her career in brand marketing with Clorox. She received her MBA from Harvard University and BA from Wellesley College.
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