Power-Cooking

Power-Cooking ~ Kitchen Tricks

I love this stuff.

9 Quick tips for healthier cooking

Easy ways to chop, sauté, and stir your way to living longer and living younger.

Stocked up on your leafy greens?

Super.

Did you know that sautéing them in a bit of olive oil instead of steaming them, will help you absorb up to five times as much of the vision-protecting antioxidant beta-carotene?

Buying healthy food is just the first step toward a better diet; preparing it correctly can make or break your nutrient bank.

Keep reading for even more surprising nutrition-enhancing prep tips.

1. Power-Cooking & Firing Up Some Heart Protection

Heating lycopene-rich tomatoes, instigates a chemical change that makes the heart-healthy nutrient much easier for your body to absorb.

So try halving some Roma tomatoes lengthwise arranging them on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Broil for 15 to 20 minutes, until slightly shriveled.

Adding canned crushed tomatoes or even tomato paste to your recipes works too, because they were heated during the processing.

2. Power-Cooking & Maximizing Your Cancer Prevention

High temperatures destroy allinase, garlic's most important cancer-fighting and immunity-boosting enzyme.

So, after chopping, let the crushed garlic sit for about 10 to 15 minutes before adding it to a sizzling pan.

This allows the pungent herb to generate compounds that blunt the damaging effects of the heat.

Not a lot of time to spare?

You can always enjoy raw garlic.

We love rubbing it on sliced, toasted Italian bread and topping it with chopped tomatoes, onions and a splash of olive oil for a simple bruschetta.

3. Power-Cooking & Getting 10 Times Your Iron

Cooking with tomatoes, apples, or lemons anybody?

Heat acidic foods like these in a cast-iron pot or skillet to spike the amount of the energy-boosting iron you absorb by more than 2,000%.

Some iron from the skillet leaches into the food, yes, but the particles are small enough that you won't be able to see or taste them and it's perfectly safe.

Bonus tip: Coupling certain iron-rich foods with high-acid ones gives a tenfold boost to your iron absorption.

While the iron in red meat is easily absorbed on its own, the type of iron found in beans, grains, and veggies is not.

So, when making a spinach salad, toss in some mango slices to increase the iron payoff.

Other healthy combos: beans and tomato sauce or cereal and strawberries.

4. Power-Cooking & Strengthening Your Eyes and Bones

Adding avocado, olive oil, nuts, olives, or another healthy fat source to red, green, orange, and yellow fruits and veggies increases the amount of fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, E, and K.

These nutrients boost vision, improve immunity, and protect against stroke and osteoporosis, respectively.

Fat acts as a transporter for them.

The same strategy works for carotenoids, the compounds that give tomatoes and carrots their bright hues.

Proof, you say?

A recent study from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center found that men and women who ate salsa containing chunks of avocado absorbed 4.4 times as much lycopene and 2.6 times as much beta-carotene than those who enjoyed plain salsa.

5. Power-Cookng & Stocking Up on Calcium

If you're preparing homemade chicken soup from scratch, it's smart to add a hint of lemon juice, vinegar, or tomato to the mix.

Because, pairing a slightly acidic broth with on-the-bone chicken, can up the soup's calcium content by 64%.

(This stock dissolves the bone's calcium more easily than a non-acidic one would.)

Bonus tip: Other research that was referenced in the Harvard/Beth Israel study has shown that slathering spareribs with an acidic vinegar-based barbecue sauce will dramatically increase the calcium content.

Who knew?

6. Power-Grillin without any Worry

The high heat needed to grill meats can create carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs), but marinating can help.

When researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, CA, soaked chicken breasts in a mixture of brown sugar, olive oil, cider vinegar, garlic, mustard, lemon juice and salt for 4 hours, they developed up to 99% fewer HCAs after 20 minutes of grilling than un-marinated chicken did.

Try this marinade and you'll be adding an extra antioxidant kick with this herb-packed food-soak:

1/2 c. of balsamic vinegar;

2 Tbs. of fresh rosemary;

1 Tbs. each of olive oil, honey, and minced garlic; and

1/2 tsp. of fresh cracked black pepper.

Bonus tip: Instead of marinating hamburgers (too messy), mix in some rosemary.

Research has found that it can slash the production of some HCAs by as much as 72%.

7. Power-Cooking & Fight the Cold and Flu

When you're slicing and dicing fresh produce, cut large pieces.

Lots of small portions expose more of the fruit or vegetable to nutrient-leaching oxygen and light.

A larger cut allows you to hold on to more vitamin-C, which helps bolster immunity.

Quarter carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes instead of dicing them; slice melons into crescents rather than cubing.

8. Power-Cooking Retains Key Nutrients

Save yourself some time and some key nutrients, by not peeling eggplant, apples, potatoes and other produce before using.

The peel itself is a natural barrier against nutrient loss and many vitamins and minerals are found in the outer skin or just below it.

Yam skin is loaded with fiber, and zucchini's is full of lutein, which may help prevent age-related macular degeneration, for example. (Remove grit and pathogens with cold, running water and a vegetable brush.)

Bonus tip: Add citrus zest to your favorite recipes.

A University of Arizona study linked eating limonene, a compound in lemon, lime, and orange peel, to a 34% reduction in skin cancer.

9. Power-Cooking & Double the Antioxidants

Dressing your salad with herbs can more than double its cancer-fighting punch, according to a recent Italian study.

When compared with garden salads made with no added herbs, those featuring lemon balm and marjoram had up to 200% more antioxidants per serving.

Spices such as ginger and cumin also upped the antioxidant quotient.

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