We all know cooking is an art, but trust us, it is also a science. You need to know the science behind every food item to make a dish healthy and wholesome. Every single ingredient in your pantry, whether it is vegetable, meat or masala, contains nutrients that react differently when heated or mixed with other foods. While some concoctions amplify the goodness of a dish, some make it toxic. Likewise, there are some food items that serve the best when eaten raw or moderately done. Why, you ask? It is because the nutrients of these food items get washed off when they come in contact with heat. Here, we will help you identify a few such everyday food ingredients that we often end up overcooking, making them unhealthy for consumption. Let's get started.
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Is It Healthy To Eat Overcooked Food?
Believe it or not, how you cook your meal defines how healthy it is. Cooking food causes a chemical reaction which either makes it edible or inedible for all. Health experts state that overcooking certain food items negatively affects their quality, look and taste, making them hard to digest.
Why You Should Not Overcook Certain Food Items?
1. Affect the taste and aroma:
Do you like eating food that looks pale? Of course not! Look and feel play major roles in defining a meal experience. And keeping some ingredients raw or moderately cooked helps you achieve the goal. Remember, overcooking certain foods alter the natural taste and colour of certain food items.
2. Eliminate the nutrients:
As mentioned earlier, cooking makes some chemical changes in the properties of the ingredients. For certain foods, you will see the loss of nutrients, making them unhealthy for consumption.
3. Lead to gut problems:
At times, the change in chemicals also makes the food hard to digest, leading to bloating, indigestion, acidity and other gut-related problems. This further results in different other health issues including weight gain, skin rashes et al.
4. Lead to contamination:
Overcooking certain foods lead to the growth of bacteria, making them carcinogenic in nature. This majorly happens when food gets charred or burnt.
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Why Certain Foods Are Best Enjoyed Raw?
To put it simply, raw foods are those that don't undergo any kind of cooking process or haven't got in contact with heat. According to health expert and nutritionist Rohit Shelatkar, "A food item is considered raw if it has not been subjected to heat over 40 to 48 degrees Celsius." Several studies explained that certain food items contain water-soluble nutrients that easily get washed off when cooked. Hence, it is best to have such food items raw to enjoy the benefits to the fullest.
Rohit Shelarkar further states that a raw diet essentially consists of fruits vegetables, nuts, seeds, and certain legumes and grains, which "help lower the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and also help manage body weight".
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Here're 5 Everyday Food Items That May Turn Toxic When Cooked:
Honey makes for a great sugar substitute for many, but that doesn't mean you use it while cooking. Raw honey contains simple sugar, water, beta-carotene, vitamins C, B, D, E and K and several essential minerals. According to the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI), heating honey deteriorates its quality and diminishes the essential enzymes. Besides, heating or cooking it might also make it toxic, affecting our health negatively.
If you have been making curries and sabzis with broccoli, then stop it now! Experts state, broccoli is best enjoyed raw, as boiling it leaches out the water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and folate. Some studies also found that boiling, microwaving or stir-frying broccoli causes a significant loss of chlorophyll that adds to the natural green colour of the vegetables.
Almond is considered a superfood due to its high nutritional value. We have it as is, use it as a garnishing element and also make chutneys and other yummy dishes with it. But did you know, you should never roast almonds as it may damage the healthy polyunsaturated fats in it? According to celebrity nutritionist Pooja Makhija, the best way to enjoy the benefits of almonds is by soaking and peeling the skin. And if you at all want to roast it, make sure, you do it at low temperature.
Also Read: What is the Best Time to Consume Nuts? We Find Out!
4. Bell pepper:
Roasted bell pepper is quite a popular addition to several recipes. It may make the dish look exotic, but cooking or charring takes away the nutrients from bell pepper. Let us explain. It contains a good amount of vitamin C, which is a water-soluble nutrient; hence, coming in contact to heat reduces its goodness.
We love beetroot sabzi. Don't we? But it might not be as healthy as you think. Beetroot contains vitamin C, folate and several other nutrients that get destroyed when cooked on high flame. Hence, nutritionists suggest eating beetroots fresh and raw for maximum benefits.
Now that you know about these food items, we say, use them properly in your diet to enjoy the benefits to the fullest.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
(This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.)