Importance Of Cooking: Beyond We Are What We Eat, We Are What We Cook!
This blog was written as part of an Inclusilver project grant between Aston University and Whisk Ltd.
Today, we’re bombarded with information about which foods and diets are healthy and which are not. One day we’re lead to believe that Keto diet is the best one for us and the next day we’re researching all about Paleo and tossing all sugar and dairy from our paintries and fridges.
In this blog post, Dr Duane Mellor PhD talks about the importance of not only choosing the right ingredients and diets to support personalised nutrition and health for each individual person but also the role that cooking has in leading a healthy lifestyle.
“We seem to be living in an information age, where messages about what we eat, and which nutrients or foods are best to eat can be seen in the media. Where one day a food is said to be good for us, and the next it is hazardous. The problem perhaps is that many of these messages can be based just on one study, whereas the weight of the evidence regarding nutrition has been relatively consistent for years.”
– Dr Duane Mellor PhD
Reasons To Cook: Healthy Lifestyle Beyond Choice Of Food & Nutrients
If you’re looking for reasons to cook here is one example of an eating pattern that has been strongly linked to a long and healthy lifestyle: the Mediterranean Diet. This dietary approach, as well as being full of flavour is often stated as simply being rich in vegetables, fruits and nuts with less animal fat and generous quantities of olive oil.
“However, it is more than the food and the nutrients it contains,” argues Dr Duane Mellor PhD, “it is more a way of life, in that is linked to how food is cooked, shared and enjoyed.”
The importance of the non-nutrient factors has been acknowledged by UNESCO as well.
Why We Resist Cooking But Shouldn’t?
Lack of inspiration, time and relevant nutritional information are the three most common reasons why we stick to the same meals every week.
Decrease in home cooking, the rise of convenience foods and eating away from home, are trends seen in UK and US. Modern diets are being increasingly dominated by highly processed foods and this is obvious in the UK where over half foods are highly processed.
WHO recommends that for both health and the environment, we need to consider a less processed diet. It’s time to change how we eat, and look to cook more.
The benefits of cooking are supported by many recent studies:
- individuals with greater cooking skills were more likely to consume less ultra-processed foods
- eating more home cooked meals was associated with a healthier dietary
- primary focus of the Brazilian approach to dietary recommendations is that buying, sharing and, of course, cooking food is being deemed as important as the nutrients the foods contain
- an in-depth study reveals that use of fat in cooking at home, often seen as being an unhealthy addition, doesn’t have negative impact on health when used selectively to enhance flavour. It also has the potential to increase intake of foods such as vegetables, as cooking these foods to add taste has the potential to increase intake of healthier more nutrient dense foods.
So, perhaps looking to cook more at home has the potential of improving enjoyment and health qualities of diet by appropriately using ingredients and maintaining nutritional qualities.
Technology is making our food journey more enjoyable and leaving less room for excuses.
The Whisk Health Score and Diabetes-Friendly Label
Time To Go Back Into Our Kitchens
“When considering novel ways to improve the diets of individuals, family and communities perhaps it is time to look at a different way and cooking at home, including using simple recipes could by itself be a step in the right direction. As, such an approach can help to tailor food to tastes and cultural preferences. So, perhaps we need less nutrition headlines, and instead more recipes with health information helping to support better and healthier food choices.” – concludes Dr Mellor PhD.
Modern consumer might argue that going back to the kitchen is easier said than done. But technology like Whisk’s is bridging the gap between inspiration, purchase and cooking. Our nutritional capabilities are helping consumers make informed choices about the recipes they are adding to their meal plans and simple-to-use shopping list is making grocery shopping as simple as a click of a button.