Cooking methods

Cooking methods

Any care taken to improve the quality of your food may be compromised by its preparation, notably its cooking method which may cause the preservation or alteration of micronutrients (vitamins, etc.).

Since Maillard, Simoneton, Kousmine and Seignalet, numerous authors have covered the various cooking methods and their effects.

The best of them improve the taste of the food and make it more nutritional; others, although prized for their effect on taste or for their novelty value, are to be used sparingly.

Overview of cooking methods… get to know the advantages and disadvantages for nutrition and health.

Biochemical effects of cooking

As stated by Jean SEIGNALET, cooking agitates the molecules in the food and forms complex substances not to be found in nature and not recognised by our enzymes.

Sugars and proteins
During cooking a link is formed between sugars and proteins causing caramelisation which cannot pass through the intestinal barrier without hyperpermeability (browned products are therefore not recommended).

Fats will form toxic substances above a certain temperature. Also do not exceed: 130°C for butter; 140°C for margarines; 140-160°C for sunflower, sesame, safflower oil; 210°C for olive and groundnut oil for cooking food, and never let the oil smoke!

Vitamins and minerals
Destruction is more complete the longer and higher temperature the cooking.

50°C = destruction of part of the enzyme components
60°C = destruction of vitamin C
100°C = precipitation of mineral salts making them non-assimilable
110°C = destruction of all vitamins

Recommended cooking methods

  • Gentle steaming (cooking at around 90°C). Steaming is a gentle method and does not attack the food, enabling it to retain its nutritional, organoleptic (soft, fondant, crunchy, colour) and aromatic qualities. This is the best method of preserving vitamins and mineral salts. The preferred cooking method!
  • Cuisson des poivronsIn the pot (cooking < 95°C). This is a slow-cook method at low temperature with a closed lid and does not require any fat. The flavour of the cooked food is excellent and the cooking juices are rich in aromatic elements and minerals. This method has the advantage of preserving the minerals
    Cuisson des poivrons
    and taste within food that is easy to assimilate and digest. The foodstuffs used for this cooking method (vegetables and fresh watery fruit, meat and fish) must have a high water content as they cook in their own water.
  • In a low-temperature oven (100-120°C). Do not exceed 150°C. Also used for long cooking at temperatures of around 90°C for meats, fish, vegetables, etc. with good preservation of nutritional value. Food wrapped in cooking paper is also a good method (avoid using aluminium foil)
  • Simmering. In simmering water at 95°C or 100°C; causes a slight loss in mineral salts and vitamins. Useful for pulses, soaked overnight for faster cooking time, and cereals (ensure all the water has been absorbed prior to the end of cooking to preserve all the mineral salts).

Cooking methods not recommended

  • Pressure cooker. Pressure cooking encourages the production of components that are aggressive to the intestinal mucous membrane, with an increase in the number of reactive white blood cells. Beginning the meal with raw vegetables tempers the aggressive effect of other cooked foods providing a pressure cooker has not been used.
  • Grilled, barbecued, smoked food. Formation of polycyclic hydrocarbons if carbonisation and/or benzopyrene is produced via pyrolysis of the fats, the cause of digestive cancers in the Baltic and Japan where these cooking methods were very common. Wrap the food in foil. To be consumed in moderation... even griddle cooking where no carcinogens are produced but where temperatures exceed 120°C; marinate the food prior to cooking to avoid burning.
  • Microwave. Similar to radar hyper-frequency waves, the electromagnetic energy causes intense molecular agitation (the molecules of the food are agitated 2,450 billion times per second!), generating heat and cooking from the interior. There exists the problem of micro-leaks and the associated dangers of the waves for fragile groups such as children and pregnant women. Food cooked in this way has had its vitality removed and has a highly modified structure which is aggressive for the body. Destruction occurs of vitamins B and C and of proteins, and peroxidation of the fats contained in the food occurs, as well as the formation of free radicals within the human body.
  • Frying. A cooking method highly appreciated in terms of flavour. Nutritional disadvantages and health risks.