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Boost Your Immune System Through Healthy Cooking Techniques

By |2018-06-07T11:01:15-04:00May 29th, 2018|Categories: Health A-Z|Tags: , |

By Sabine Paul-Yee, MD

Most people are familiar with the phrase, “you are what you eat.” While it’s important to keep your foods as natural as possible, it’s often overlooked that the way you cook is just as important as the foods you eat. The likelihood, severity, and longevity of illness is highly dependent on the strength of your immune system, and healthy cooking methods can make a critical difference.

Healthy Cooking Retains Nutrients
Frying or overheating food destroys some important nutrients and adds unnecessary fats and calories. Through basic healthy cooking techniques, you can capture flavor and retain nutrients while cutting fat and calories from your diet. Nutrients, including vitamins A, C, D, and E, are what matters most in supporting a strong immune system.

Here are some healthy cooking techniques that can keep your immune system strong.

  • Stir-frying is not only a fast cooking method, but it is also one of the most nutritionally packed. By cooking at very high heat for a relatively short time in a small amount of oil, the essential heat-sensitive nutrients in your bite-sized pieces of vegetables and meat, poultry, seafood, or tofu are preserved and incredibly low in fat and calorie content. Be sure to avoid high-sodium seasonings like teriyaki and soy sauce.
  • Roasting is similar to stir frying in that it maintains those important nutrients. But make sure to use a rack in the pan so the meat doesn’t sit in its own fat drippings.
  • Baking is another oil-free, healthy option that minimizes fat content and keeps important nutrients intact.
  • Broiling is one of the simplest of all cooking methods. It entails cooking food under high, direct heat for a short period of time. Because it’s a dry-heat method of cooking, there are no additional oils involved and it’s a great way to cook tender cuts of beef and chicken.
  • Poaching, sautéing, and steaming are other terrific cooking methods that preserve nutrients and will rev up your immune system.

Keeping it Real
Incorporating plenty of natural food sources contributes to a healthy immune system. Get six to seven servings of fruits and vegetables in your diet every day, especially green, leafy vegetables that are high in antioxidants, such as broccoli and spinach. Other great natural food sources, such as quinoa, brown rice, and whole grain products, offer vitamin B, fiber, and minerals. I also recommend that my patients supplement with a multivitamin if their diet is nutritionally challenged.

Dr. Sabine Paul-Yee is board-certified in family medicine and on staff at CentraState. For more information, call 866-CENTRA7 (866-236-8727) or visit

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