We all eat bad foods sometimes, but do you really know what you’re putting in your plate? How many of these common everyday cooking ingredients do you look out for on the daily? If you’re like us and love putting salt on your meat or sugar in your coffee, then this article may deter you from doing as much. As with everything, keep everything in moderation. Too much of these cooking ingredients will harm you.
Eating too much of anything is bad for you, but salt has been known as one of the biggest contributors of bad health. Your physician probably warned you about eating too much salt recently, but why exactly is sodium bad for you?
- Firstly, sodium raises blood pressure. If you have low blood pressure, you may have to have more salt, but for most of us, high blood pressure is a big no-no. High blood pressure is known to cause strokes, heart failure, and heart attacks.
- Salt also can cause osteoporosis, which causes for weak bones due to a lack of calcium. It is known to deplete calcium from your bones because it causes frequent urination.
- Sodium also causes obesity through water retention, which will make you feel and look heavier and more bloated.
- Lastly, it has not been proven, but salt can actually cause stomach cancer. The exact facts are not known yet but the studies show that with all the correlations that salt can be bad for your stomach.
Alternatives to salt: We love salt because it brings out the flavor in foods and adds texture in certain cases. Instead of salt, consider using the following:
Garlic powder, pepper, lime/lemon juice, onion powder, or potassium chloride
MSG is also known as Monosodium Glutamate. Although it has not been directly linked to any diseases, studies have shown that MSG can cause many reactions such as headaches, sweating, numbness, rapid heartbeats, chest pain, nausea and more. So what exactly is MSG? Most people know it as the flavor behind Chinese food, but it’s actually in a lot more foods under different names. It’s in the Kraft dinner and the frozen dinners, as well as in seasonings such as soy sauce and packaged gravy. It’s part sodium, so it does the same thing as salt and adds flavor to your food. Unlike salt, it doesn’t trigger the “salt” receptor of your tongue. It instead sparks a fifth sense — something called “umami”.
People say that MSG causes brain damage in the long run but that is still in debate. Though the FDA approves MSG for use, it’s not good to take too much because it has been said by studies that it causes neuronal damage by overexciting them. This perhaps explains the reason why some people are more sensitive to it than others. It has been known to cause migraines, so unless we know all the exact science behind MSG we shouldn’t overindulge in it.
Alternatives to MSG: We love MSG because like most people, we love the sense of “umami” they get from it. Consider the following for enhanced flavor in similar manners:
Lime/lemon juice, brine, red wine, garlic, rosemary (other herbs), potassium chloride, or cheeses.
Olive oil is good for the heart and is one of the healthiest oils to indulge in. It is a great source of omega-0 monounsaturated fatty acids and does well for high blood pressure as well as cholesterol. It also tastes great drizzled over salads or bread. We’ve heard all of the good stuff about it, but is there anything bad about this supposedly “perfect” oil?
The answer is yes, but not exactly all the time. Confused? Well the rumors you may have heard about olive oil being toxic is true, but only in certain circumstances and only certain types of olive oil. Apparently, every oil has a smoke point, which is the degrees in Fahrenheit or Celsius the oil starts smoking up. With normal oils such as canola or vegetable oil, the smoke point is fairly high, at 400-475 (there’s differences between being between refined and unrefined).
Olive oil stands on that ladder as the lowest oil smoking point, which makes it fairly hazardous if you’re cooking food in the oven or over really high heats. If it gets to its smoking point, the oil can cause cardiovascular disease, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, liver problems and cancer. Olive oil is okay for just heating up some vegetables, but we would not recommend using it for your steak or chicken.
Alternatives to olive oil: It’s one of the healthiest oils out there, but did you know there’s something even better?
Studies have shown that excessive consumption of sugar can lead to many complicated health effects, such as obesity, heart disease and on a lesser note, tooth decay. It contains no other nutritional value other than empty calories, which is frightening since in one go you can consume so much of it. Most people believe that sugar will also increase the risk of diabetes, but studies have shown that to be inconclusive. Rather, diabetes (and its consequences like strokes and kidney failures) is an extension of obesity instead.
Another common understanding of sugar is that it leads to hyperactivity, otherwise known as sugar rushes. This has also been disproved wherein parents were told their children were fed sugar but instead received placebos, yet the parents still believed that their children were hyperactive.
Getting rid of all your sugar intake would be very difficult, but some alternatives and sugar substitutes we’ve found included things like:
Honey, stevia, maple syrup, fruit juice, coconut sugar, dates, and molasses
White flour, also known as refined flour, comes with the health detriments of all refined products. It’s said to be one of the worst things to eat besides trans fats. Refine carbs are known to quickly raise your blood sugar, leading to you being full then becoming really hungry very soon after. The “crash” you experience from eating too many carbs usually have to do with the amount of refined carbs you’re eating. White flour can be hard to avoid, since it’s everywhere — in your pasta, in your rice, and in your pizza dough.
Having that spike in blood sugar also leads to inflammation. Having too much glucose at once forces it to build up in your blood stream, and then it can attach itself to nearby protein molecules. This can cause stuff like arthritis and heart disease. Having too much unrefined carbs can lead to more cravings for carbs, which, like the cravings for sugar, will lead to obesity and more heart problems. If you want to find out more about refine flour, we suggest you read this article on how else it’s bad for you.
Instead of white refined flour, we suggest you use:
Whole wheat, almond flour, brown rice, quinoa, barley
What is high fructose corn syrup? Corn syrup is actually made from the corn starch, but high fructose corn syrup is made from corn starch that has had its glucose converted into fructose so it’s a lot sweeter (we won’t get into the chemical details, if you want to found out more, read this). High fructose corn syrup has a lot of sugar, with 24% of it being water, and the rest of it being sugar. Like sugar, high fructose syrup is the same thing when it comes to your health — it’s usually used as a replacement for sugar when it shouldn’t be. Some of the health effects include:
- Like sugar, it can cause obesity due to the high amount of fructose. Fructose leads to weight gain easier because it’s a simple carbohydrate and if not used up all at once, it will be stored as fat.
- Unlike real sugar, corn syrup is biochemically modified so it’s not a natural ingredient.
- Some high fructose corn syrups have been found to contain mercury.
- Like sugar, it can be addictive if you keep eating it. It works on the brain the same way any addiction does. Be careful of those empty calories.
- We all know what empty calories lead to: heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure.
Alternatives to high fructose corn syrup:
Real corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, molasses.
Do you commonly use these ingredients while cooking?
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