Traditional cultures around the world cooked their food slowly over many hours. Perhaps this was because heating an oven to over 300 degrees was just not practical without electricity. Little did they know the incredible benefits they gleaned from cooking at low temperatures. Or did they?
According to Ayurveda, cooking foods slowly is a way to preserve the prana (life force) and nutrients in the foods. The concept of a microwave is forbidden in Ayurveda, and maybe for good reason.
In a recent study, foods that were cooked at over 300 degrees were shown to inflict damage to the body’s cells after this food was ingested (1).
Scientists have also found that high temperature cooking significantly increases the rate of aging, causes chronic inflammation, and excessive glycation (2).
Advanced glycation end products (AGES) produced from barbecuing, frying, broiling or baking are responsible for increased risk of abdominal fat, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, immune changes, inflammation, obesity, skin damage and early aging (3).
Cooking foods at high temperatures results in a “browning effect,” whereby sugars and oxidized fats react with proteins by sticking to them and forming glycotoxins, which the body has a tough time ridding itself of.
In one six week study, when food was cooked at low temperatures the glycated LDL cholesterol was reduced by 33%. When the exact same foods were cooked at high temperatures, the glycated LDL cholesterol increased by 32% (4).
In another study performed at the University of Minnesota, women who consistently ate “well-done” overcooked hamburgers had a 50% increased risk of getting breast cancer (5).
To be safe, consider boiling, poaching, stir-frying, steaming, stewing and/or using a slow cooker. According to researchers, cooking in water can protect the food from heat and slow the process of creating glycotoxins. Marinating foods in olive oil, wine, lemon juice, or cider vinegar can also help protect the foods.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog, in which I will discuss foods that can protect your cells from high-temperature cooking and glycation.