Eating Healthy Sweet 16:

Are You Using Nutrient-Rich Cooking Methods?

ARTICLE IN A NUTSHELL

1. Nutrient-rich cooking methods incorporate science-based, healthy techniques.

2. Boost taste, health, and creativity in the kitchen using nutritious techniques.

3. Take charge of your well-being and loved ones’ health with easy, healthy cooking.

"Cooking more of your meals at home can be empowering as you take responsibility for your health and those you care for!"

INTRO

Did you know nutrient-rich cooking can boost creativity, increase personal growth, and improve well-being?  Research shows that individuals who cook at home more often than eat out tend to be healthier. This is primarily because cooking at home gives you complete control over what is in your food. Foods prepared outside the home contain higher amounts of total and saturated fats, sugar, and sodium and lower intakes of fiber, fruit, vegetables, and micronutrients. (1)

At the Energetic Health Institute, we understand it can be challenging to make nutrient-rich meals in today’s busy society, but with a few tips and tricks, it can be fun and simple. We are here to share some guidelines that will assist you in combining the art and science of healthy, nutrient-rich cooking starting today.

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WHAT IS NUTRIENT RICH COOKING?

Nutrient-rich cooking (NRC) is a cooking style that utilizes science-based principles to optimize preserving nutrients in cooked foods.  These principles were assembled by George Mateljan as outlined in his book World’s Healthiest Foods. Recent studies show that by choosing the proper method of preparation and cooking your food, you can improve its quality of nutrition, creating a more nutrient-rich meal. (2)

Our bodies require a daily intake of health-promoting foods that deliver essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients that work together. This working relationship creates energy, maintains optimal physiological function, and can prevent degenerative health conditions such as heart disease, digestive tract disorders, and cancer. 

Nutrient-Rich Cooking Techniques:

Saute: Cook quickly in a small amount of oil or liquid.

Steam: Gently cook with steam, retaining nutrients and flavors.

Stir-fry: Quickly cook with broth or sauce, not oils.

Poach: Gently cook fish, chicken, eggs, and veggies, creating tasty broths.

Roast: Cook veggies, chicken, and lean meat with herbs and quality oil.

Broil: Use high heat to cook, letting excess fat drip away.

Grill: Lock in rich flavors with just a little fat, like when broiling.

Cooking more of your meals at home can be empowering as you take responsibility for your health and those you care for!

Cooking healthy food

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A NEW WAY TO COOK YOUR VEGETABLES

NRC places significant emphasis on healthy preparation methods for cooking, especially vegetables. Although many vegetables can be eaten raw, recent research highlights that some, like carrots, broccoli, spinach, and tomatoes, provide more antioxidants when lightly sautéed or steamed (3).

Studies investigating phenolic phytonutrients in zucchini and carrots reveal these valuable antioxidants are best preserved through steaming with minimal water instead of boiling. To safeguard antioxidants and nutrients, cooking your vegetables sparingly is crucial (4).

Nutrients are vital in shielding your body against free radicals, which can harm cellular structures and DNA. These nutrients include vitamins like A, C, and E, phytonutrients such as carotenoids, beta carotene, and lycopene, and flavonoids like phenols, quercetin, and rutin. Research indicates that cooking time and water usage during preparation can affect the antioxidant concentration in your vegetables (5).

The World’s Healthiest Foods underscores the importance of precision in NRC, advocating for low cooking temperatures, precise cooking times, and vegetable-specific cooking methods. These practices simplify cooking and make it possible to create nutrient-rich meals that fit any daily schedule.

Healthy Sauté:

Use a bit of broth or water instead of heated oils for a low-temperature sauté. This method softens cellulose and hemicellulose, making veggies like cauliflower, cabbage, red peppers, carrots, mushrooms, and asparagus easier to digest. After sautéing, use the liquid in other dishes like quinoa, buckwheat, or homemade dressings. Heat broth in a stainless steel skillet, add veggies, cover, and sauté for the recommended time. 

Quick Steam:

Steaming is a top method for keeping flavor and essential nutrients. It’s better at preserving disease-fighting antioxidants like phenols and glucosinolates found in kale, spinach, broccoli, and brussels sprouts compared to boiling, frying, or baking. Add 2 inches of water to the steamer, boil, and place veggies on the rack, cover, and steam for the recommended time (6) (7).

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WHY YOUR CHOICE OF COOKING MATTERS

NRC considers the extensive research showing the harmful effects of cookware like Teflon, aluminum, and copper.  These substances release toxic elements into your food that can accumulate in the body over time. 

Research supports using non-stick cookware contributes to many diseases, such as cancer, liver conditions, thyroid, and cardiovascular disorders.  (8) (9)

Changing your cookware to healthier alternatives is an investment up front but is a worthwhile purchase in the long run. Purchasing high-quality, safe cookware will ensure no chemicals enter your food and body. The healthiest and safest alternatives are cast iron, stainless steel, 100% ceramic, and glass cookware. Cast iron cookware is one of the best as it releases iron into your food. (10)

Cooking for Nutrient-Rich Meals by The World’s Healthiest Foods:

1. Choose fresh ingredients: to start with top-quality components, choose local, organic, and seasonal fruits and vegetables.

2. Store and prep veggies right: Know which veggies to refrigerate and which to store at room temperature for freshness.

3. Use clean water: Prioritize bottled mineral water for cooking to avoid contaminants. Let cruciferous veggies sit before cooking for added benefits.

4. Temperature:  Cook vegetables with low heat and a short time to preserve nutrients. 

5. Cooking with oils:  Use oils with high smoke points, like coconut or sunflower.

6. Add olive oil later: Enhance flavors by drizzling extra virgin olive oil after sautéing or steaming.

7. Choose quality meat and eggs: antibiotic-free, grass-fed, pasture-raised meat and eggs.

8. Select wild-caught fish: Avoid high-mercury and farmed fish due to chemical concerns.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

While raw and cooked vegetables offer essential nutrients, the body processes and absorbs them differently. Hence, adopting healthy cooking preparations with low-temperature methods and safer cookware becomes crucial for maximizing your food’s nutritional value. Remember that some foods should always be cooked or processed (sprouted, soaked, or fermented) and never eaten raw.  For example:

Dried Beans: Toxins in raw beans are decreased by cooking, soaking, and sprouting.

Grains:  These contain phytic acids that can decrease the absorption of minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium. Grains should be cooked, soaked, or sprouted to help reduce their phytic acid content.

Eggs: May contain Salmonella bacteria, so cooking is recommended. Also, the iron and biotin (vitamin b7) found in eggs are not as well absorbed if eggs are not cooked. Raw egg whites contain a glycoprotein called avidin that binds tightly to biotin, preventing its absorption. Cooking the egg whites denatures avidin for better digestion and intestinal absorption of biotin. (11)

Are you ready to explore your creative, nutrient-rich cooking method today?

To Your Good Health!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M. Moriah Mor, a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, owns GreenSilk.com. The company is committed to helping individuals live a healthier lifestyle through education, nutrition, the research of life science, and the development of Professional High-Grade Premium health products.

Recognized for her outstanding dedication and contributions to the health and wellness industry for over 18 years, Moriah is a graduate of the Energetic Health Institute and the University of Southern California. Her interest is focused on researching the latest scientific breakthroughs in the holistic health field. She is currently working toward her Doctorate in Natural Medicine.

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