If your diet plan includes meat and other animal proteins, you definitely eat a healthy diet. Red meat is a powerful source of complete protein that is rich in nutrients such as vitamins B6 and B12, iron, zinc, and selenium.
However, how you cook the meat and other animal proteins, for example, poultry and fish, matters a lot. This is because some common methods of cooking may render this otherwise healthy food less useful.
Check out some dos and don’ts for cooking that can make your food not only delicious but healthier.
Watch The Heat
If you cook animal proteins at high temperatures, for instance, direct grilling and pan-frying, chemical compounds like heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PCAs) get formed. These compounds may raise the risk of cancer though only animal research on this has so far been conducted.
Grilling meat over indirect heat and frying on a pan at lower temperatures are two methods to overlook compounds like these.
Related Posts: Why the Way You Cook Red Meat Can Make It Less Healthy
Grill Leaner Cuts
When meat gets exposed to smoke, PCAs are also formed. This can occur when fat drips into a grill, flaring up flames. With leaner cuts, less fat will be left to drip off, hence, making the risk of flame and smoke lower. You can as well move the grill grate higher up to help distant the food from the source of heat.
Avoid Well Done Meat
Has a food lover ever told you never to eat well done meat because its texture and taste are compromised and therefore unhealthy for you? Research indicates that well-done meat has more potential cancer risk. This implies that reaching for that medium-rare steak or burger is healthier.
Sear Employ other Cooking Methods
Going for cooking methods like braising and air frying helps to keep temperatures low. With braising, like pulled pork and shredded beef, the meat gets cooked in liquid at up to 300ºF. You can nicely braise in a slow cooker as well as in a Dutch oven on a stove or inside the oven. While using an air fryer, you can as well get items such as chicken wings nice and crisp with no high temperatures or surplus oil.
Try A Reverse Sear
Searing meat in a hot skillet and then finishing in the oven, especially roasts and other large cuts, is done often. But with a reverse sear, you can cook the meat in the oven first and on a low heat setting, till it reaches around 10 to 15ºF lower than the ultimate temperature you’re aiming for. Then you offer it a fast sear on the stove. The outcome is that you still have the crust on the exterior and a tender inside, while the meat is inside a high-heat pan for a segment of the time.
According to research, seasoning with or marinating in antioxidant-rich spices, for example, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and pepper, can decrease the level of HCAs. Spices like these bring in additional flavors and can lower potentially harmful compounds, making them a win-win.
Each time you purchase beef, go for 100% grass-fed and grass-finished options. This kind of beef is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins E and A, as well as antioxidants like the disease fighter glutathione. Also, buy beef from stores you trust .
Though a perfect source of iron-rich protein for some people, we know that meat isn’t ethically a lifestyle diet choice for everyone. So, it’s okay that you may be a vegan or vegetarian or avoid meat for health reasons.
Be mindful of portion sizes, quality, animal-cruelty ways of producing meat and the environment where the meat you eat comes from.