Sustainable Living

Here’s how slow cooking can help you lead a healthier life

You might have heard people say that you are what you eat. The way lifestyle diseases like hypertension and diabetes are affecting people across the globe bears testimony to the fact. What we put in our bodies is how we shape our health. At a time when diets and nutritional supplements are a fad, people are looking for simple, easy, and accessible options to get nutrition in their bodies.  An old technique like slow cooking is again prominent because of its health benefits. Slow cooking refers to a cooking technique in which food is cooked on slow heat and for longer durations. One of the USPs of this cooking technique is that it does not destroy nutrients present in the food. When food is cooked at low temperatures, more nutrients are preserved as compared to when it is cooked at high heat. 

Slow cooking (Indian dish “Toor daal/Yellow daal” is being cooked in an earthen pot)

What many of us don’t realise is that slow cooking is a not new phenomenon in India. Before modern cooking appliances like pressure cookers and microwaves took over kitchens, food in India was usually cooked on woodfire or coal. The process might have taken its own sweet time, but it ensured that all necessary nutrients present in the raw food were preserved.

Switching sides for nutrition

If you are looking for reasons to switch to slow cooking, here are a few benefits that will help you make your mind up: 

Helps cut down on junk food: The market is replete with slow cookers, which can simplify cooking by involving the minimal use of ingredients and automated settings. You can easily put the food to cook in a slow cooker, set the timing and the cooked will switch off itself. This way, you can cook food even when you are busy with other tasks and don’t have to order out.

Can cook meat easily: You might have seen that tough slices of meat are harder to cook in a pressure cooker or a pan. You can avoid this problem with slow cooking as the meat is cooked on low heat and for a longer period of time. Another advantage of slow cooking is that you can cook tough meat slices without using tenderisers or fats.

Limiting consumption of processed foods: You can easily cook frozen and packaged foods in a slow cooker using fresh ingredients, which helps you combine the advantages of both nature’s bounty as well as slow cooking. Excessive consumption of processed foods can lead to a spike in levels of sodium and unhealthy fats, among other disadvantages. So, give processed foods a miss and jump-start slow cooking!

Distribution of flavours: The extended time taken in cooking allows for better distribution of flavours in several recipes.

Ease of cooking: If you are using a slow cooker, you can quickly throw in some ingredients and have a one-pot dish ready soon enough. With the appliance’s automatic settings, you can go about doing your chores till the food cooks. Moreover, it is also great for cooking for parties as, it frees up other burners/ stoves for other dishes. Hence, slow cooking can also help you multi-task.

Lesser chance of food burning: We all have been through times when we have ended up with burning food just because we were distracted for a few minutes. With slow cooking, we can avoid burning food as it cooks are low temperatures.

A safe procedure: Thanks to automated settings that slow cookers come with, you can cook food safely without being afraid of burning anything. 

The other side of the picture

While the aforementioned reasons are not exhaustive and there are several other benefits associated with the technique, there are a few considerations that you must keep in mind when opting for slow cooking. For instance, slow cookers are not recommended for all recipes. You might have to alternate between slow cookers and your good old stovetop for different recipes while roping in the oven too for dishes like desserts. 

Moreover, there is a greater chance of the food being overcooked when different ingredients are combined. Hence, it is advisable that one adds ingredients in accordance with how fast they cook. Nevertheless, you can become better at overcoming these challenges once you start slow cooking regularly. Also, the health benefits of slow cooking far outweigh any disadvantages that are commonly associated with it.

While slow cooking was more laborious before the invention of slow cookers, but we are fortunate to have been born at a time when these appliances are easily available. There are several brands that manufacture slow cookers and you can pick one that best suits your requirements. They are easy to clean and maintain, which is why they make for a good investment for your kitchen. What’s more is that these appliances are available in several colors and designs. So, go ahead and give slow cooking a try to reap its health benefits.

Puskar Pande

Editor in chief

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