Healthy Cooking for Life: It’s All about Antioxidants

The food that we put into our bodies is in direct correlation to the amount of energy we are able to exert. Making healthy choices when we eat provides our body with good fuel that gives us lasting energy to use throughout the day.

In a world of food packed with sugar, sodium and fat, it can be difficult to know what to eat. To combat the pervasiveness of unhealthy food choices, it is important to learn healthy cooking techniques, but before you dive into that, you need to understand what you should be putting into your body, and that’s where antioxidants come in.

The human body is constantly in a state of battle. It needs heat and energy, which are produced through metabolizing fats and glucose, but this process also creates harmful compounds known as free radicals. These free radicals damage the skin tissue and reduce our protection against disease and aging. Luckily the body has something to block free radicals and guard our tissue: Antioxidants.

Maintaining the optimal level of antioxidants in the body allows us to strengthen our immune system and therefore protect against free radicals that cause us to get sick, feel weak or otherwise not perform to our highest potential.

Like many health-related issues, you have control when it comes to providing your body with the antioxidants it needs to maintain optimal health. When you make choices about your diet, you can opt for processed food with high fat and sugar content, or you can go with whole, natural foods that are high in antioxidants. Green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, are high in antioxidants. Garlic has shown to keep cholesterol levels low and blood pressure under control. Drinking green and black tea can help reduce the risk of heart disease and other serious health problems.

And so we circle back to healthy cooking. How is it possible to make healthy meals without breaking the bank or spending hours in the kitchen? And let’s face it … selling your kids on the benefits of spinach can be next to impossible.

The cooking process begins with making smart choices at the grocery store. Shop around the edges, and opt for fresh foods rather than pre-packaged meals. Choose foods with the fewest ingredients on the labels.

In the kitchen, rethink your preparation methods. Frying foods requires the use of oil, which adds an excessive amount of fat to your diet. Instead, consider roasting, broiling or steaming. Conversely, don’t feel like you have to serve big, hot portions of everything. A flavorful, fresh salad can go a long way in adding antioxidants to a meal while filling the hunger void. Using herbs and spices can add color, flavor and aroma to any meal.

Healthy cooking can be both fun and easy, once you know how to do it. Let us help you this month at The Specific Chiropractic Center. Join us for a six-week, hands-on cooking workshop that includes demonstrations, food samples and notes you can use at home. The workshop will be held every Wednesday, January 26 through March 2.  Reserve your space today by going to www.healthycookingforlife.eventbrite.com. Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your space for a lifetime of healthier cooking.

RESOURCES:

 

Mayo Clinic Staff. Healthy Cooking Techniques. Mayo Clinic. (April 18, 2009) Retrieved January 6, 2011 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-cooking/NU00201.

What Are Antioxidants – And Why Should You Care? Antioxidants In Health. Retrieved January 6, 2011 from http://www.antioxidantsinhealth.com/.