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April 2017
Healthy eating
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COOKING METHODS

Cooking is an important transformation method for food which modifies both the sensory and nutritional quality of the food. Some foods do not need to be cooked, whilst others must be cooked otherwise they cannot be consumed.

The main aims of cooking are to:

  • give the food an inviting look and colour;
  • increase attractiveness as far as smells, flavours and aromas, which enhance the taste, are concerned;
  • soften the texture so it is softer and more digestible;
  • destroy any bacteria, making the food safer and more hygienic;
  • make the food able to be preserved;
  • deactivate some substances which are ‘anti-nutritious’ and naturally present in some raw food.

There are some negative effects to cooking, like the formation of harmful substances caused by heating the food (for example, carbonisation on the grill or the formation of polymers when frying), the destruction of thermolabile vitamins, which are sensitive to heat (vitamin C and B vitamins in particular), the destruction of essential amino acids, when cooking for along time, and the dispersion of some vitamins and minerals in cooking water.

There are numerous types of cooking methods and each one has advantages and disadvantages, therefore it is fundamental that you choose the right cooking method for the right food so as to preserve the nutritional qualities, appearance and flavours as best as possible.

FRYING

The modern diet, which emphasises good health, requires that we avoid almost all fried foods because of their high fat content, difficult digestibility and the tiring preparation, but golden and crunchy fried food is hard to resist. However it is possible to find a compromise that includes fried goods in your diet without exaggerating the amount and frequency. Being on a diet does not have to mean avoiding foods, but rather knowing about the appropriate quantities and qualities of all foods, with no foods left out.

GRILLING

Cooking on a spit or grill are probably the starting points of all cuisines. They are actually extremely natural cooking methods which can be carried out outside and with fairly little equipment. When on a spit or a grill, food, and especially meat, cooks in a dry environment without accumulating vapours, which would accumulate around the food when cooking in an oven for example, therefore the food keeps its flavour.

BOILING

Boiling foods is probably one of the oldest and most traditional cooking methods, as well as cooking directly on a flame (roasting). This cooking methods allows you to make light foods and, in some cases, bring out the flavours.

STEAMING

Steaming allows food to cook thanks to the humid heat coming from boiling water, thus avoiding direct contact with water, reducing the effect of solubilisation as much as possible. Furthermore, food cooks at relatively low temperatures, therefore there is little loss of vitamins and minerals and the food flavours and tastes remain intact.

SPICES IN THE KITCHE

When we talk about spices, often we do not fully understand their fundamental role in the preparation of first courses and meat and fish dishes. Spices aromatise, perfume, colour and enliven any dish, therefore it is important to distinguish between their different properties so they are used in the best way possible.

STEWING

This is the classic ‘humid’ cooking method that, at low temperatures, allows you to cook foods without affecting any of the organoleptic and nutritious features and without losing hydrosoluble elements and minerals.

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