8 Cooking Methods Explained to Improve Your Health

Steaming

Cooking anything from fresh veggies to fish fillets allows them to cook in their own juices and retain all that natural goodness. Again, no need for fat-laden additions to up the moisture. It's always good to add a little seasoning first, whether that's a sprinkle of salt or a squeeze of lemon juice.

If the carcinogen-fighting glucosinolates in broccoli are important to you, some research suggests steaming could be the best way to cook the little green trees. In the body, glucosinolates become compounds called isothiocyanates, which some studies suggest inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

More: How to Get Your Daily Dose of Fruit and Veggies

Poaching

The same goes for boiling's cousin, poaching—no additives. Basically, poaching means cooking the given food in a small amount of hot water (just below boiling point). It takes slightly longer—which some experts believe can decrease nutrient retention—but is a great way to gently cook delicate foods like fish, eggs or fruit. Plus, it's just about the most delicious way to cook an egg in our books.

Broiling

Broiling entails cooking food under high, direct heat for a short period of time. Broiling is a great way to cook tender cuts of meat, remember to trim excess fat before cooking, but may not be ideal for cooking veggies, as they can dry out easily.

More: 5 Simple Fish Recipes

Grilling

In terms of getting maximum nutrition without sacrificing flavor, grilling is a great cooking method. It requires minimal added fats and imparts a smoky flavor while keeping meats and veggies juicy and tender. While these are definitely healthy benefits, not everything about grilling is so peachy. Some research suggests that regularly consuming charred, well-done meat may increase risk of pancreatic cancer and breast cancer.

Cooking at high heat can also produce a chemical reaction between the fat and protein in meat, creating toxins that are linked to the imbalance of antioxidants in the body and inflammation, which can lead to an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

This doesn't mean BBQs are forbidden—just stick with lean cuts of meat that require less cooking time, and keep dark meats on the rarer side.

More: Skinny BBQ Turkey Burger

Stir-Frying

While this method does require some oil in the pan, it should only be a moderate amount—just enough to get a nice sear on your meat and veggies. It's effective for bite-sized pieces of meat, grains like rice and quinoa, and thin-cut veggies like bell peppers, julienned carrots and snow peas.

No Cooking

Raw food diets have gained tons of attention recently, and for good reason. Many studies suggest there are of benefits of incorporating more raw foods into the diet: Studies have shown eating the rainbow consistently reduces the risk of cancer, but the jury's out on whether raw or cooked is really best overall.

Plus, since the diet is mostly plant-based, more vitamins, minerals and fiber are consumed overall, with no added sugars or fats from cooking. And while some raw items might be super-healthy, studies have found that cooking can actually amplify some nutrients, like lycopene in tomatoes and antioxidants in carotenoids such as carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes and peppers.

This article  has been read and approved by Greatist Experts Lindsey Joe and Elizabeth Jarrard

What's your favorite healthier way to cook? Share your opinions in the comment below or tweet the editor @ksmorin

More: 6 Top Superfoods to Eat This Race Season

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