Imagine you enjoying a hot bowl of Egusi soup and pounded yam, with assorted meat.
Then imagine me telling you that this your sweet Egusi can make you sick?
It sounds somehow, right ?
Let me show you four ways we Nigerians are harming ourselves with our cooking.
1. Bleaching Palm Oil.
Bleaching palm oil is leaving it in a pot or a pan for a long time over high heat. Yes, it gives that unique flavour to soups and traditional stews, but do you know it is harmful for your health?
See that smokes that chokes everyone at home when you cook? That’s the first health risk.
The second being that continuous consumption of foods cooked with this kind of oil makes your arteries harden with fat over time, a condition known as atherosclerosis, which increases the risk of high blood pressure.
Next time you need to bleach palm oil, consider if it is really really necessary.
2. Smoking meat and fish
This is where some peoples will start to fight me.
Smoked foods like fish and meat (suya is on this table) cooked over an open fire for long period of time can cause serious health problems. Why?
They contain harmful substances: heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that can induce cancer.
You can reduce your consumption of smoked meat and fish and reduce the damage they cause.
3. Softening meat with paracetamol
Is this the same paracetamol you take for headaches or another one? It is the same one. Believe it or not people use paracetamol to soften meat while cooking to make it cook faster and save time.
But why is it bad?
Paracetamol, under heat is degraded to benzoquin, a substance which damages your kidney, and causes serious problems.
So, instead of using paracetamol to soften your cow leg, try soaking it before cooking for about 30 minutes.
4. Cooking vegetables for long
“This is the way my mother and grandmother cooks”.
“The soup won’t taste done na”.
Usually, when I tell people about this particular habit, I am usually on the verge of being used for “pepper soup”.
I mean saying vegetables should be cooked for what..5 minutes tops?
Vegetables contain Vitamin C, which is great for boosting your immunity and general well being. Cooking them for too long destabilizes the vitamin, making it lose its value. As it enters the cooking water, some vitamins are lost and the food ends up with very little Vitamin C.
What can you do?
Cook vegetables for a small amount of time, with a little amount of water, to minimize Vitamin C loss.
What other cooking habit do you think is not healthy?
This article was written by Gloria Chimelu for healthomy.com