Healthy cooking techniques

4 April 2017

We all know that eating well is essential for good health and keeping our body working properly. So it’s no surprise that we’re more and more interested in finding out as much as possible about the food we eat, including how nutritious it is and how many calories it contains. But we often forget that it’s not just a question of choosing a variety of good-quality fresh good: it’s also important to know how to cook it.

Experts say that more nutrients are lost between our fridge and our dining table than in the entire journey our food takes from its place of origin to the shop. The blame lies with all our washing, soaking, cutting up and overcooking in the kitchen.

Likewise, a study from the Universidad de Murcia published in the Journal of Food Science analysed the loss of vitamins and antioxidants in 20 kinds of vegetables after they had undergone six common cooking techniques. The main finding was that water is no ally in the kitchen when it comes to cooking vegetables. Boiling and pressure-cooking led to the greatest loss, while griddling, microwaving and baking were the least aggressive; frying came somewhere in between.

A griddle or hotplate is a great tool for cooking tasty, healthy food—not only garden vegetables but also meat and fish, especially if you use olive oil. And if you pour the olive oil directly onto the food instead of onto the griddle or hotplate, the food won't oxidise.

You should cook food in the oven for short times at high temperatures to prevent nutrient loss. Roasting is an excellent way to cook meat and you can also throw some vegetables in a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil—quick, easy, healthy food.

Sautéing involves cooking small pieces of food quickly with a little oil—olive oil, if possible, as it can withstand high temperatures and contains more nutrients. Simply throw the ingredients into a wok (a deep, oval-shaped frying pan used in Oriental cooking) and let your imagination run wild: you can mix vegetables with meat, fish, pulses, rice, pasta…

Perhaps surprisingly, frying doesn’t have to be unhealthy or pile on the calories if you use the right oil at the right temperature. Frying helps food keep its properties because it coats them in a film that traps the water inside. However, it’s best not to reuse the oil too many times, as it isn’t good for your health.

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