Nutrition

Nutrition: Cooking is a skill for life – and for your health

Nutrition: Cooking is a skill for life – and for your health
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How often do you cook? Studies show that the more often we eat home-cooked meals, the healthier we are.

It appears that eating home-cooked food five or more times a week is associated with higher plasma vitamin C levels, lower body mass index, lowered cholesterol, more balanced blood sugar insulin and lowered blood pressure.

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This is not new news. We know that the less processed food we eat, the better it is, but when you consider the impact you can have from chopping, slicing, dicing and cooking your own food, it’s powerful stuff.

This week we heard the shocking news that cancer rates among 20-49 year olds are rising rapidly around the world, and scientists are pointing the finger at our diet and lifestyle.

Cooking is a skill that is essential for life. Let’s embrace this lost art and get our kids and teens into the kitchen for their long-term health.

No matter what age or life stage you are in, you can change your diet for the better. You can learn new cooking skills, or build on what you already know to improve the variety, diversity and nutrition of the food on your plate.

Eating more home-cooked foods makes us more likely to make choices that fit a healthy Mediterranean diet — more fruits and vegetables, less red meat, some fish, legumes, whole grains, and olive oil, which in turn keeps us healthier and better nourished.

We have the power to control our health and longevity for the better if we know how to prepare some decent, balanced, healthy meals. This is not about becoming a gourmet chef or creating recipes with weird and wonderful ingredients.

Just learning the basics will give you the power to take back control of your health. Cooking is a skill – the more you do it, the better you get at it.

Start with what you like. Learn how to cook a handful of your favorite meals. A curry, homemade soup, an omelette, chili, stir-fry. Homemade tomato sauce, curry paste, marinades and rubs not only taste delicious, they are also packed with nutrients that your body will thank you for.

All this does not have to be difficult or time consuming. Check out the BBC food website or Jamie Oliver recipes for easy, mouthwatering ideas to inspire you.

By cooking from scratch, you have control over what’s on your plate. You become responsible for your own health and well-being. It’s powerful stuff.

If you cook for yourself:

:: You know exactly what you eat – you can see how much salt, sugar and fat you are adding – and adjust it to your liking.

:: You are in control of your food intake and nutrition.

:: You can save money.

:: You avoid all the junk that comes with processed foods – from sweeteners and flavors to starches, emulsifiers, salt, sugar and fat.

:: You have more control over what you eat. You can customize the recipe and choose the ingredients you like without having to pick them out.

:: You have more choice about the origin, variety and quality of the ingredients you choose.

:: You will have the pleasure and satisfaction of making easy and nutritious home cooked food.

Your health is in your hands. Start with the basics. Reclaiming the lost art of home cooking and reducing our reliance on ultra-processed foods will transform our health for the better. Let’s cook…

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