How Modern Kitchens Conspire Against Our Health and What can We Do About it?

Without a doubt, the kitchen is the household space which has undergone the most changes during the last century. Previously they were dull rooms used only by servants, but today they are a gathering place for everyone. Kitchen design has been influenced by the changing role of women, sanitation issues and improvements with industrialization and technology. We have more food in our kitchens than ever, as well as appliances which help us to prepare elaborate dishes quickly. Unfortunately our eating habits are going down the drain. Here are 6 changes in our kitchens which conspire against our health:


MICROWAVE

The controversy about whether cooking food in microwave ovens kills the nutrients was put forth long ago but there are still no decisive conclusions. However, most microwave users zap their food in a plastic container and according to the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal “there is evidence that most plastic products release estrogenic chemicals when exposed to microwaving, which can lead to cancer.”

Solution:
Find alternatives to plastic such as glass containers or other microwavable dishes.



REFRIGERATOR

There’s not an American household without a fridge, and although it is an appliance that helps in keeping beers chilled, it also prevents food from going bad. We abuse and misuse it by stocking it up in an unorganized way, giving bacteria and toxic substances a wonderful playground to reproduce, leading to food poisoning.

Solution:

The potential risk of foodborne illnesses can be prevented by wrapping stored foods and regularly cleaning your fridge. Or you can always consider installing a bigger fridge.





JUICE-MAKER

Juicing has become very popular lately due to fad diets claiming to help you lose weight and detox your body. But according to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health “the high glycemic index of fruit juice — which passes through the digestive system more rapidly than fiber-rich fruit — may explain the positive link between juice consumption and increased diabetes risk.”

Solution:
Don’t abuse the juicer; try to use fruit with a low glycemic index or swap three servings of juice per week for whole fruits, which according to research would result in a 7% reduction in diabetes risk.



BLENDER

If juicing is popular, the smoothie craze is taking over America, and we are filling up our blenders with ice cream, milk, fruit, nuts, protein, and so on. Others, however, try to mend unhealthy eating habits by stuffing it with veggies and leafy greens. But according to the Center for Nutrition Studies there is research that shows that if you take the same energy in as a liquid instead of a solid, you will consume more calories later because the liquified energy doesn’t satisfy your appetite as well as solid food. In other words, blending food can lead to a misconception that you are eating less when in reality you are eating more.

Solution:
For some people drinking smoothies is a much better way to consume the 5 daily portions of fruits and vegetables recommended by the World Health Organization, but it’s a much better idea to use your teeth regularly and leave smoothies for those days when you’re in a hurry.



TV

When this popular device was invented, its place was the living room where all the family sat together to watch their favorite show. But according to a Nielsen report, the average American watches over four and a half hours of live television a day. Adding to the risks of a sedentary lifestyle most modern kitchens have a television used for entertainment during meals. A recent Penn State study suggests that TV viewing may distract your attention from normal fullness cues which can lead to overeating and pose a risk of obesity especially in kids. According to one of the authors of this study, Leann Birch, the problem itself doesn’t come from watching TV but rather from eating without paying attention to the amount, taste, etc.

Solution:
The solution is simple - install the TV far away from the kitchen or stop dining in front of it. If neither of these two choices is acceptable at least make sure that what you are eating is healthy so you stuff yourself with nutrients rather than bad carbs and fat.


FILTERED WATER

The efficiency of the public water supply and water treatment systems is one of the greatest advances in our kitchens. It makes our water cleaner and taste better but may also be the greatest silent killer as most of the water we now drink is demineralized, meaning provides little or no magnesium, which is a critical mineral for body functions. According to a publication by the World Health Organization, epidemiological studies in many countries report that soft water or water low in magnesium is associated with increased mortality from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) compared to hard water and water high in magnesium.

Solution:
If drinking more mineral water is not an option for you, try to eat magnesium-rich foods such as legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains and leafy greens or consult a nutritionist for magnesium supplements.

CONCLUSION:

It is said that “we are what we eat” therefore our kitchens deserve more attention because the food you prepare in it could be the origin of diseases or a source for preventing them. Our habits are our worst enemy when it comes to our health, and out of all the things you spend your housing money on, your kitchen should be the most important.


Sources:

Harvard Health Publications
Environmental Health Perspectives
Center for Nutrition Studies
Science Daily
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
PennState College of Health
Magnesium Online Library

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