I grew up eating fried food. Fried flounder and shrimp, fried chicken, French fries, fried hush puppies, you name it.
In the South, we like to deep-fry stuff.
But while my grandmother used that method sometimes, I rarely have cooked that way at home, and now I even forego the “heart healthy” extra-virgin olive oil whenever possible. I also try not to eat fried foods when at a restaurant. (It is tough to avoid evoo at a restaurant, though. Chefs love it.)
Why this intentional effort to stay away from cooking oils?
When cooking oils are heated to high temperatures, it produces a chemical called acrylamides. Two bad things come from this chemical – cancer and inflammation.
Oils also oxidize, so even unheated oils are not good. Oxidation leads to inflammation, and when it occurs inside the body, it’s linked to pain, arthritis, high blood pressure, liver disease, and liver spots on the skin. Liver spots have nothing to do with the liver, though; it’s rancid fat in the skin.
Even olive oil also isn’t as good for us as advertised. The “olive oil = goodness” mentality began with a focus on the Mediterranean Diet, which people thought led to longer lifespans for those who followed it. But olive oil, unless made at home as needed by squeezing olives and cooking immediately with the oil, also is susceptible to oxidation. You never know how long it’s been on a shelf, or in transit. So you don’t know how much oxidation has occurred.
Too much oxidative damage can lead to cancer, but oxidation is everywhere. Metals rust. Fruits and vegetables go bad.
We cannot control natural processes, but we can control what we put into our bodies. Eliminating the “Bad Foods,” getting all 90 essential minerals, vitamins, amino acids and essential fatty acids, and consuming extra antioxidants can help us live healthier, longer lives.
We all will eventually die. But who wants to suffer first and then go bankrupt from medical bills?
Are those French fries really worth that?
More information on acrylamides is at http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/acrylamide-fact-sheet
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