Monthly Archives: January 2017
Many love fried, baked, and barbecued foods. But there may be a less tasty side to these culinary delights: high temperature cooking methods may produce large amounts of cancer-producing compounds, aka carcinogens.
A Swedish report found that when starchy foods such as flour and potatoes are baked or fried at high temperatures, they produce the carcinogenic (i.e. cancer causing) chemical acrylamide 1. Prolonged exposure to acrylamide has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals and may do the same in humans 1.
The generation of carcinogens from frying is not limited to only starchy foods. During the process of frying protein-rich foods, such as meat and fish, various kinds of carcinogenic heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are produced, particularly when cooking temperature is very high (above 400oF )2. Heterocyclic amines have been shown to cause malignant tumors in the colon and breast of mice and rats, and they are possible or probable carcinogens for humans 2.
Temperature is the most important factor in the formation of HCAs3. Frying, broiling, and barbecuing produce the largest amounts of HCAs because the meats are cooked at very high temperatures. The higher the temperature, the higher the number of carcinogenic compounds produced. One study conducted by researchers showed a threefold increase in the content of HCAs when the cooking temperature was increased from 200 degrees to 250 degrees C (392 degrees to 482 degrees F) 3. A typical gas grill easily reaches 500oF. Such extreme temperatures produce high levels of carcinogens.
Furthermore, barbecues have long been known to be dangerous because of the tendency of flames and smoke to blacken and burn the meat and especially the fat. The amount of fat on the meat compounds the carcinogenic potential of the grilled meat. When the fat from the grill drips onto the open fire, the smoke, which is another source of carcinogens known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), carries the dangerous compounds back to the food.
How do these carcinogenic compounds released from cooking foods in high temperature promote cancer? The answer is oxidation. Acrylamides, HCAs, and PCAs are all oxidants. Oxidants, or compounds that participate in the process of oxidation, disrupt the stability of cell membranes and DNA 5; accumulated damage to the DNA is a precursor to cancer 6.
Turning down the cooking temperature is a simple way to help prevent cancer. In order to minimize the number of carcinogens released from cooking, reduce cooking temperature to 350oF and below 7. Steaming, poaching, and cooking in a crock pot are some examples of cooking with low heat. When barbecuing, try to use and consume leaner cuts of meats. If consuming foods that are cooked with high temperature methods, remember to consume plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables since they are great sources of antioxidants, or take antioxidant supplements. Antioxidants will counteract the damage done by the dangerous oxidants and help keep your body healthy and cancer-free.
The fact that modern mainstream medicine can`t fathom a connection with microwaved foods to cancer is simple: Orthodox medicine thinks nutrition and diet have nothing to do with disease. It`s focused on germs and genes. Their intervention is based on man made drugs or surgical procedures. Check out hospital food as a partial confirmation of this philosophy.
Mainstream MDs may agree that direct contact with microwave radiation causes health problems. But they can`t make the cancer causing connection to the food from microwave ovens. Hans Hertel, the heroic Swiss researcher featured in this author`s Natural News article linking cancer to microwave cooking, clears the scientific fog formed by medical science`s half-witted declarations.
Normally cooked food is heated from the outside in. This is the normal function of thermal dynamics: heat transfers to cold. Although raw food advocates will rightfully point out the heat destroying nutrients, especially enzymes, normal cooking doesn`t create nearly as much damage as microwave cooking.
You probably know that microwave radiation heats from the inside out. How is this accomplished?
Hertel explains, “Technically produced microwaves are based on the principle of alternating current. Atoms, molecules and cells hit by this hard electromagnetic radiation are forced to reverse polarity 1 to 100 billion times a second.”
“There are no atoms, molecules or cells of any organic system able to withstand such a violent, destructive power for any extended period of time, not even in the low energy range of milliwatts.
(…) This is how microwave cooking heat is generated – friction from this violence in water molecules. Structures of molecules are torn apart, molecules are forcefully deformed (called structural isomerism) and thus become impaired in quality.”
So it`s the water molecules in foods that are directly agitated first to produce frictional heat. Journalist Tom Valentine played devil`s advocate by posing this question: “What about microwaves from the sun? Are they harmful?”
Again, it`s the AC current propelling microwave ovens that create an extremely rapid polar shift of the subjected water molecules. Hertel went on to explain that the sun`s microwaves are based on a pulsating direct current. This type of microwave radiation doesn`t shear molecules because there is no rapid oscillation of polarity.
And There`s More
Besides these thermal modifications, there is direct damage to cell walls and genes from microwaves. Gene altering technology, which includes the biotech food industry, alters genes by weakening them with microwaves. Hertel explained further, “… the cells are actually broken, thereby neutralizing the electrical potentials – the very life of the cells – between the outer and inner sides of the cell membranes.”
Strange and unknown compounds are created by microwave energy`s penetration into organic matter. They are called radiolytic compounds. Many scientists argue that these are created from normal cooking as well. However, Hertel`s research has indicated that far more radiolytic compounds are created by microwave cooking.
Hertel concludes that the food damaged from microwaving modifies the cellular activity in the human consumers of that food. One`s cells are forced by the damaged cells and radiolytic compounds to adapt into an emergency mode of energy production. The human cells are forced from normal cellular oxidation into the anaerobic energy production of glucose fermentation.
Contrary to popular belief, not all fat is bad for your health. Many fats, in fact, actually promote healthy weight maintenance and a well-functioning cardiovascular and nervous system, among many other benefits. But with so much misinformation out there about the nature of fats and oils, it can be difficult for many people to make sense of the issue, to the detriment of their own health.
To help simplify the matter, here are some helpful tips for choosing the best edible oils for your health:
Coconut oil. Perhaps the most misunderstood — and also one of the healthiest — oils you can consume, coconut oil is an amazingly-versatile, nutrient-dense superfood that is the richest known source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which aid in the proper digestion and assimilation of fats, as well as boost energy levels. Coconut oil is also rich in healthy saturated fats and antioxidants, and has been found to promote brain health, boost immunity, and strengthen thyroid function.
Since it has a high smoke point and is incredibly shelf stable, coconut oil is great for both cooking and eating raw. Many people regularly eat unrefined, extra virgin coconut oil by the spoonful, as it is a powerful antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral food that is rich in disease-fighting lauric acid. Coconut is also a powerful energy booster, as it quickly penetrates cells and provides rapid nourishment.
Red palm oil. This one is a bit more controversial, as palm plantations are said to be slowly overtaking the natural habitats of orangutans and other animals. But when cultivated responsibly, red palm oil is an excellent, shelf-stable oil that is rich in tocotrienols (vitamin E) and carotenes (vitamin A). Similar to coconut oil, red palm oil has a high smoke point, does not require hydrogenation to remain stable, and is completely free of trans fatty acids, which makes it an excellent option for cooking and baking.
Red palm oil is pretty much the only oil that has a perfect balance of both tocopherols and tocotrienols, which together encompass the gamut of vitamin E’s many unique forms. Red palm oil also contains nearly 13 times more vitamin A-producing carotenes than carrots, which make it one of the richest plant sources of this important nutrient.
Avocado oil. A relatively underrated fat, avocado oil is gaining popularity as a powerful, free radical-fighting “super-oil” that protects cellular mitochondria from destruction. Rich in phytonutrients, avocado oil does not easily oxidize, which makes it preferable to sunflower, safflower, canola, soybean, corn, and peanut oils, which are often recommended in many mainstream health circles as being healthy.
The antioxidants found in avocado oil have a unique ability to effectively enter cell mitochondria and shield cells against disease-causing oxidation. Many fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants lack this ability, at least to the same degree. Avocado oil is also a powerful weapon against heart disease and aging.
Macadamia nut oil. The average American consumes far more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, which is a major contributor to chronic inflammation and disease. But macadamia nut oil is uniquely low in omega-6s compared to other nut oils, while also being relatively high in omega-3s. Macadamia nut oil is said to contain an ideal 1:1 ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which makes it one of the healthiest nut oils you can consume.
Macadamia nut oil is also rich in oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid that contains its own unique cancer-fighting and heart-protecting properties. With a rich, sweet, buttery flavor, as well as a high smoke point, macadamia nut oil is both a delicious salad topper, and a tasty frying and sauteing oil.
Olive oil. Nearly everybody knows about the health benefits of olive oil, as it is one of the most highly acclaimed, heart-healthy oils being talked about today. And when it is truly fresh and authentic, extra virgin olive oil really is everything the health industry claims and more, especially when consumed alongside other healthy oils like coconut and avocado.
A staple of the so-called Mediterranean diet, olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which help reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood. Its various vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants effectively guard against heart disease; promote healthy digestion; ease the symptoms of ulcers and gastritis; and prevent gallstone formation, among other benefits.
Sesame oil. Popular in Asian cooking, sesame oil has a pungent flavor that makes it a favorite in many foods. And the great news is that it is also beneficial to health, having been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Sesame oil is also rich in iron, calcium, and magnesium, the latter of which is known for its incredible calming effect.
Also rich in polyunsaturated fats, sesame oil helps contribute to proper fat absorption; cognitive acuity; healthy skin; a lowered risk of heart disease; and strong teeth and bones. Sesame oil also helps fight diabetes, reduce high blood pressure, prevent gingivitis and dental plaque, protect against kidney damage, and fight depression.
Other beneficial oils worth checking out include almond oil, pumpkin seed oil, flax seed oil, grape seed oil, walnut oil, hemp oil, and ghee, also known as clarified butter. On the other hand, corn, soy, cottonseed, canola, sunflower, safflower and various other “vegetable” oils are all damaging to health and should be avoided.
Choosing better foods to eat is only half the battle when you’re goal is to improve your overall wellness. The road to a better diet is also paved with better preparation methods, not just better foods.
“While most people know to ditch the fryer when cooking up healthy meals many don’t think about how their cooking method affects the nutritional make-up of their entree,” write Lindsay Joe and Elizabeth Jarrard ofGreatist.com, a fast-growing fitness, health and happiness start-up.
For instance, they note, vegetables can lose up to 15-20 percent of some essential vitamins because of heat, including vitamin C, folate, and potassium. They add that some cooking methods are worse than others, which “is why raw foodists cut out cooking altogether, claiming that uncooked food maintains all of its nutritional value and supports optimal health.”
That said, some recent studies have noted that certain foods can benefit from cooking. Heat can help release antioxidants from tomatoes, spinach and carrots, just to name a few, by breaking down cell walls and providing easier passage of healthy components into the body.
Let’s examine a few of the healthiest cooking methods and what effectively makes them better choices:
Editor’s note: For a better explanation of why microwave ovens destroy your food, read this more recent article by Mike Adams, the editor of this site:
Steaming your fish and veggies is safe, healthy and efficient. The experts note that steaming food is an excellent way to prepare it while locking in freshness, nutrients and vitamins.
“Cooking anything from fresh veggies to fish fillets this way allows them to stew in their own juices and retain all their natural goodness,” Joe and Jarrard write. “And no need for fat-laden additions to up the moisture.”
They recommend adding a bit of seasoning first, such as a sprinkle of salt or even a squeeze (or cap-full) of lemon juice.
“To steam on top of the stove, simply bring water to a boil in your selected stove-top steamer, reduce heat so that a strong simmer sends steam escaping, add food to the steaming compartment, cover with a lid, and begin timing,” says Shape magazine.
Poaching is another steaming technique you can use. Some experts think poaching decreases nutrient retention because it generally takes a bit longer, but it is an effective way to prepare delicate foods like eggs, fish or even some fruits.
Broiling and grilling your way to goodness. Anytime you don’t have to toss your food into boiling grease in order to prepare it, you are light years ahead of the game in terms of preparing healthy meals.
Broiling involves cooking food under direct heat at high temperatures for a short period of time. Broiling is a really good way to prepare tender cuts of meat (though you should remember to trim excess fat before doing so). Broiling is not the best way to cook vegetables; however, because it can dry them out easily.
Grilling is another way to retain maximum nutritional value in your foods without giving up flavor. “It requires minimal added fats and imparts a smoky flavor while keeping meats and veggies juicy and tender,” say Joe and Jarrard.
“Grilling adds calorie-free smoky flavor to meats, vegetables and even fruits, and the high heat produces an unmatched crisp crust,” says FoodNetwork.com.
Editor’s note: Grilling is terrible for your health if it burns the food. Burned foods contain cancer-causing chemicals created during the burning process.
Whip up some stir-fry. This cooking method does require use of a small amount of oil in the pan, what is required is very minimal; you should only need just enough to get a nice sear on your meat and veggies. Stir-fry techniques are best for bite-sized pieces of meat, some grains like quinoa and rice, and thin-sliced veggies such as julienned carrots, bell peppers and snow peas.