Cooking foods for all but brief periods of time can destroy many valuable nutrients. More alarming is that when foods are cooked to the point of browning or charring, the organic compounds they contain undergo changes in structure, producing carcinogens. Barbecued meats seem to pose the worst health threat in this regard. When burning fat drips onto an open flame, polclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs dangerous carcinogens- are formed. When amino acids and other chemicals found in muscle are exposed to high temperatures, other carcinogens, called heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs), are created.
In fact, many of the chemicals used to produce cancer in laboratory animals have been isolated from cooked proteins. Important to note that cooked meats do not pose the only threat, even browned or burned bread crusts contain a variety of carcinogenic substances. The dangers posed by the practice of cooking foods at high temperatures or until browned or burned should not be dis- missed. Although eating habits vary widely from person to person, it seems safe to assume that many people consume many grams of overcooked foods a day. By comparison, only half a gram of this same dangerous burned material is inhaled by someone who smokes two packs of cigarettes a day Clearly, by eating produce raw or only lightly cooked, and by greatly limiting your consumption of meat, you will be doing much to decrease your risk of cancer and, possibly, other disorders.
Use the Proper Cooking Utensils
Although raw foods have many advantages over cooked ones, nourishing soups and a variety of other dishes can be made healthfully. One of the ways to ensure wholesome cooked food is the careful selection of cookware. When preparing foods, use only glass, stainless steel, or iron pots and pans. Do not use aluminum cookware or utensils. Foods cooked or stored in aluminum produce a substance that neutralizes the digestive juices, leading to acidosis and ulcers. Worse, the aluminum in the cookware can leach from the pot into the food. When the food is consumed, the aluminum is absorbed by the body, where it accumulates in the brain and nervous system tissues. Excessive amounts of these aluminum deposits have been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. Other cookware to be avoided includes all pots and pans with nonstick coatings, too often, the metals and other substances in the pot’s finish flakes or leaches into the food. Ultimately, these chemicals end up in your body.
Although some sodium is essential for survival, inadequate sodium intake is a rare problem. (Symptoms of salt deficiency include light-headedness and muscles fatigue.) We need at least 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day to stay healthy. This is enough to accomplish all the vital functions that sodium performs in the body-helping maintain normal fluid levels, health muscle function, and proper acidity (pH) of the blood. Excessive sodium intake can cause fluid to be retained in the tissues, which can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) and can aggravate many medical disorder, including congestive heart failure, certain forms of kidney disease, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).