3 Great Benefits of Cooking that You Need to Know About

healthy eating
3 Great Benefits of Cooking that You Need to Know by The Mindful Cook

Cooking is part of our ancestral DNA. It’s a unique skill that humans have developed that sets us apart from the animal kingdom. But over time, as our lives have become more demanding and complicated, and food manufacturing has grown to be a hugely profitable, commercial industry, we have lost touch with this beautiful skill.

Cooking from scratch can help you in so many ways, here are three of the less obvious benefits.

 Cooking protects you from the potential damage of ultra-processed foods.

You might be shocked to learn that 56.8% of the food we are eating in the UK is classed as ultra-processed.

Ultra-processed foods describe foods that contain ingredients that you wouldn’t add when cooking homemade food. Many of which you wouldn’t recognise the names of and many are chemicals, colourings, sweeteners, and preservatives.

A piece of research published in the British Medical Journal in 2019, revealed that over half of the food consumed in the UK falls into this category.

The huge increase in diseases like type-2 diabetes – diabetes diagnoses have doubled in the last 15 years in the UK -  and other conditions like low immunity, fatigue and weight gain among the general population, are all arguably symptoms of how our bodies are responding to the decline in the quality of the food we are eating and other lifestyle factors.

Having the skills and confidence to cook a meal from scratch can significantly reduce your reliance on processed foods, and over time, this can make a huge difference to your diet and your risk of disease. 

Cooking can improve your mental health.

When cooking is used in therapeutic settings, it's been found to have a positive influence on things like self-confidence, mood and self-esteem.

Research suggests that a good quality diet is an important factor in preventing the risk of mental disorders. And that the act of cooking is something that promotes positive feelings.

A recent research study looking at 500 people who took part in a programme of cooking classes, found that participants reported improved cooking confidence, improved general health, and feelings of improved mental health and vitality. Interestingly, these benefits continued well beyond the duration of the programme six months after the course finished.

Cooking from scratch saves you money

Most meals that you make yourself can be made for a fraction of the cost of the ready-meal or meal delivery counterparts. Ready meals, take-aways, meal boxes and grab-and-go food options are ubiquitous today. But, for all of the promise of hassle free, low-cost convenience, they're actually doing a huge amount of damage to our wallets (and our health).

According to an article in Forbes magazine a meal kit service can cost almost three times as much as cooking from scratch.

Buying in the ingredients and making it yourself is cheaper to buy the raw ingredients, it goes much further and the options for storing it and enjoying the leftovers is greater.

There's quite a good case for doing a little more cooking right?

Healthy cooking doesn't have to be complicated or time consuming.  You can save time using a combination of unprepared and prepared ingredients, simple recipes and techniques like batch cooking. 

If you'd like a  little help making cooking for health simple and enjoyable, check out The Nourish and Social Cooking Club.