Meat is one of the most important and widely consumed foods in the world. It is an excellent source of high quality protein and various other nutrients.
There are plenty of methods to cook meat. Some make the meat even tastier then others. Cooking meat breaks down any tough fibers and connective tissues and makes it easy to chew and digest. It also makes it more absorbent to the body.
Among different methods of cooking, some are healthier while others not so much. The way you cook you cook your meat greatly effect. Its nutrient value and production of harmful substances.
This article details out different ways of cooking meat and how they affect our health. Let’s see what is the healthiest way to cook meat?
Roasting and baking are almost similar methods of cooking meat. This method involves cooking meat in a dry heat, which is different from moist heat where meat is cooked in water or any other liquid.
Roasting the meat involves a big roasting pan which consists of an additional rack under the roasting pan which collects the juices from the meat as they drip down while cooking. Roasting is usually used to cook whole chicken or turkey.
Baking is a method usually used for cooking chicken, fish or poultry rather than red meat. Baking is done in a big baking pan, with the meat being covered or left open with a lid. The temperature for baking or roasting ranges from 300 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Roasting and baking are a healthier way of cooking meat. It causes minimal loss of vitamin C. Also, if the meat is cooked at a high temperature for too long, the B vitamins are loss in form of the juice that drips down. It can be gathered and served with the meat, which can minimize nutrient loss.
Grilling meat is one very famous method of cooking meat because it results in excellent taste. It is a method which involves dry heat, which comes directly from under the meat like an open barbecue. The temperature usually ranges from 375 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unfortunately grilling or broiling meat can be dangerous. It is because the fat from the meat drips out of the meat and drips down to the cooking surface like on to the grill. This can cause harmful compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to rise up from the fat to seep into the meat.
PAHs have been linked to cause several kinds of cancer including pancreatic and breast cancer. Fortunately, studies have found that removing the drippings from the meat can reduce the risk of cancer up to 89%.
Another problem with grilled or broiled meat is that it promotes the production of advanced glycation end products, which have been linked to several diseases like heart problems, skin aging and kidney problems. They are also formed in the body as a byproduct of a chemical reaction between proteins and sugars and also produced in the foods during cooking at high temperatures. One study found that broiled meat contained more AGES then meat cooked by other means.
Stir frying or pan frying is a method that involves frying meat in a pan or pot with little fat on the surface of the utensil. Stir frying involves constant stirring of the meat while it is being cooked whereas pan frying does not require that frequent flipping or stirring of the meat.
This results in tender and delicious tasting meat in relatively short time. This method is healthy because it involves less cooking of the meat which prevents the oxidizing of cholesterol and nutrient loss too. Oxidized cholesterol is considered a risk for heart attack.
However, stir frying and pan frying have some draw backs to. It involves frying meat at a high temperature, which can lead to the production of Heterocyclic Amines, which can cause cancer. Studies have shown that meat often reaches that state where the production of heterocyclic amines starts during pan frying.
It is also important to choose a fat which is stable at cooking at high temperatures as some oils like seed oils and vegetable oils promote the production of aldehydes when reach their heating point. Aldehydes are dangerous compounds that can cause various health problems. Healthy cooking oils include palm oil, olive oil or coconut oil.
Deep frying meat is a method which includes the complete immersion of meat in cooking oil. It renders the meat crispy, tasty and also retains the nutrients inside the meat. However, deep frying meat also poses some health risks. Investigations show that deep frying of the meat can result in the production of some harmful compounds like aldehydes and AGES in the meat.
The fat being used for frying is also absorbed into the meat especially if the meat was battered before frying, resulting in calories addition and if the fat being used is any unhealthy oil like vegetable or seed oil which are often used, it does a lot more harm than good. As it can increase cancer and heart problems risk.
Slow cooking is a method which involves cooking slowly in a slow cooker often referred to as a crock pot; it consists of a large pot with a glass lid. Meat is put in the pot and after setting up the temperature left on the stove for a few hours where the meat gets cooked slowly.
It is very convenient because it only requires the meat to b seasoned and placed in the pot and left there for 6 to 8 hours, without checking or opening up the cooker. It also results in the loss of B vitamins which can be retained if the drippings are served with the meat.
Slow cooking can result in the over cooking of meat leaving it mushy and soft so it best be left for no more than 4 to 5 hours depending on the kind of meat.
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