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Nutritional cooking is an approach to cooking that is based on nutrition, with an emphasis on using ingredients that are nutritious, whole, and natural.
Nutrition is the food that your body needs to function and grow. It is not a measurement of whether you are healthy or not. A diet that is high in dietary fiber, and lower in fat and sugars can be very useful to the digestive system and the metabolism, making you feel more energetic.
Fruits and Vegetables
Nutritionists say that a diet high in vegetables and fruits, and low in saturated fat can help the body's hormone functions (hormone release) because fruits and vegetables are sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, dietary fiber, and have complex carbohydrates, such as starch and dietary fiber, which our bodies need. In general, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are the preferred food groups. Food with a high glycemic index (GI) should be eaten in moderation and never replace nutrient-dense foods with high fiber and anti-oxidants.
Nutritional cooking is a cooking style that uses only foods and ingredients that are healthy, whole, and natural. Using whole foods and ingredients is an excellent way to make healthy meals, and to get the most out of your food. In this approach, food is not made unhealthy through the addition of excess salt, butter, high-fat cooking fats, refined carbohydrates, refined sugars, hydrogenated fats, and other forms of processed, unnatural ingredients. It also means that more vitamins and nutrients get into your body.
Nutritional cooking is the opposite of the standard American way of cooking, which is to add fat and salt to make food taste better but to ignore the quality of the food. This is also the opposite of many Asian, Mexican, and Mediterranean cuisines.
Nutritional cooking may differ from region to region, but some general rules apply:
Most fruits and vegetables should be eaten raw or lightly steamed, but not cooked in water.
Foods like potatoes and starchy root vegetables should be boiled or baked for the best nutritional value.
Grains such as brown rice and whole grains should be thoroughly cooked or soaked overnight and then cooked.
Lean meat can be used more often, as they contain more protein and less fat. Fatty cuts of meat can be substituted with low-fat meats, like chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of beef, such as flank steak.
The nutritional cooking movement is based on eating foods that are more nutrient-dense, but at the same time have no added unhealthy fats or harmful ingredients. The foods that are the most nutritious, from a nutritional standpoint, include grains and beans.
The whole grains, such as brown rice and whole-wheat pasta, are more nutritious than refined grains like white rice and white pasta. Whole grains are the entire grain, including the germ and the bran, and can have anywhere from one-fourth to three-fourths of the entire grain. Some whole grains can have up to 75 percent of the entire grain. These types of whole grains also tend to have a higher water content, since the germ and the bran are the wateriest parts.
Soy is a good source of plant-based protein that is often considered an alternative to meat.
Beans, which are rich in plant-based protein, are a source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and other vitamins. They are also a source of iron and can contain high levels of beneficial minerals such as phosphorus. They are a good source of vegetable protein that is free of saturated fat. Many bean varieties, including black beans, adzuki beans, kidney beans, lima beans, and navy beans can be cooked in a variety of ways for different nutritional benefits.
Lentils are nutritious protein-rich legumes that are often used in dishes such as Indian dal, and other dishes that can be served as a healthy side dish. Lentils are a good source of plant-based protein that is high in fiber and is free of saturated fat and cholesterol.
Many different diseases affect the gastrointestinal tract and some can be prevented by eating a healthy diet, which includes sufficient fruits and vegetables. For instance, a disease called ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease is often difficult to manage and affects the whole body. According to the Harvard Nurses' Health Study, people who consume higher levels of fiber-rich foods, such as fruit and vegetables, are more likely to avoid these diseases. The fiber in fruits and vegetables is believed to assist in fighting inflammation and colon cancer. A healthy diet that is rich in vegetables and fruit can help to prevent these diseases as well. The fiber in fruits and vegetables also helps in the absorption of calcium and potassium, which helps maintain the health of the body.
beans: black beans, adzuki beans, kidney beans, lima beans, and navy beans:
- Fruits and vegetables should be eaten raw or lightly steamed, but not cooked in water.
- Potatoes and starchy root vegetables should be boiled or baked for the best nutritional value.
- Grains such as brown rice and whole grains should be thoroughly cooked or soaked overnight and then cooked.
- Fatty cuts of meat can be substituted with low-fat meats, like chicken and turkey.
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