Heart Healthy Cooking Methods
NEW DELHI, (IANS) – A heart-healthy diet is likely to recall images of food that’s boiled and bland. On the contrary, a heart-healthy diet is one that is interesting, flavorful, and colorful as it should include an abundance of deep-colored veggies and fruits, coarse grains like millets, legumes of all kinds (soy, nuts, and seeds), low-fat dairy, along with some portions of fish or poultry.
Other than eating diverse ingredients, the cooking process also plays a role in terms of the taste, texture, color, digestibility, absorption, and nutritive value of the dish.
Even though each of the cooking methods has its set of advantages and limitations, it’s useful to remember these overarching guidelines for ideal heart health:
. Short cooking time: Overcooking should always be avoided, no matter what the cooking method. Overcooking destroys the nutrients as well as colors and textures of the food. Methods that employ shorter cooking time is preferred – pressure cooking and microwaving are prime examples.
. Minimal use of water: When cooking in water, use as little as needed. This will minimize the leaching out of water-soluble nutrients. Try to use the leftover water in a sauce or gravy. Also, avoid adding baking soda to veggies when cooking. They may retain the color but the Vitamin C content drops.
. Avoid very high temperatures: This is particularly important in the case of dry heat methods like grilling, baking, broiling, and frying. Cooking at very high temperatures (above 180 degrees Celsius) can form acrylamide, a compound that has been linked to cancers, diabetes, and heart disease. The fat dripping onto the meats/paneer/potatoes at high temperatures causes such chemicals to form.
. Use multi-source cooking oil: One of the most asked questions about diet pertains to cooking oils and which of these is the best for our health. Multi-source cooking oils have the added advantage of low-absorbance technology and better heat stability, which is desirable for high-temperature cooking methods like baking and frying. Fried foods are very much part of our celebratory menus, which we can enjoy occasionally in limited portions, without increasing the risk of disease.