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— December 5, 2018

Cooking Tips

Cooking Tips

Get Saucy with Tomatoes

Good old tomato sauce is actually good for you. That’s because tomatoes contain lycopene, which helps support prostate health, and cooking tomatoes with a little olive oil helps release the lycopene, making it more available to the body. Of course, if you want to make your pizza or pasta really healthy, go for a whole-wheat variety—and be sure to include some veggies.

Green Up Dinner

Don’t let childhood memories of boiled-to-death veggies keep you from serving green stuff to your kids. Be creative: call broccoli “little trees,” invite them to watch spinach practically melt into spaghetti sauce—anything that makes these superfoods easier for young palates to accept.

Know Your Chili Peppers

Unless you’re a hardcore chilihead, you might want to build your tolerance to capsaicin, the stuff that gives chilies their zing. Habaneros and Scotch bonnets are among the hottest, jalapeños and cayennes less so. Removing the inner ribs along with the seeds will tone down the heat somewhat.

Savor Succulent Sweet Spuds

If you love potatoes, switch from white to sweet—the latter contain more age-fighting nutrients and are less likely to rile your blood sugar. Don’t be fooled by terminology; the moist, orangy tubers often labeled “yams” and the drier, yellower ones generally called “sweet potatoes” are both varieties of the same plant. Don’t douse your sweets in syrupy concoctions, either; noted alternative practitioner Andrew Weil, MD suggests baking the moister varieties in a 350° oven until fork-tender, or pan-frying them in a spot of olive oil. He says both types can be oven-roasted—just peel, cube, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, spread in a baking pan and roast in a 450° oven (stirring every 10 minutes) until nicely browned. Enjoy!

Select Fresh Fish

For quality, shop for fish the day you cook it. Among signs that the fish you’re selecting is truly a fresh catch are a shiny luster and moist surface; sturdy flesh with a little bounce; scales that are clear, bright, intact and attached to the fish; and bright, not-sunken eyes. Oh, and a fresh, mild odor, naturally.

Spice Up Your Diet

How do you flavor your food without a ton of butter, mayo and other high-fat items? The answer is as close as your spice rack. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), many common spices—including oregano, rosemary and turmeric—contain health-enhancing phytonutrients. When using fresh herbs, be sure to choose healthy-looking leaves and store them in the fridge for four days, tops. The AICR website contains a wealth of well-spiced recipes, in addition to tons of other terrific nutritional advice; see for yourself at

Unfry Your Chicken

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be made as tasty as fried chicken, but without all the oil and fat, says Wilbert Jones, author of The New Soul Food Cookbook (Citadel Press). Coat the chicken with a mix of flour, seasoning and nonstick cooking spray, bake, and the result is a chicken dish just as crunchy and tasty as the old favorite.

When Buying Olive Oil, Go for the Cold.

The best olive oil for salads is extra virgin, taken from the first pressing. Look for a cold-pressed variety, which will retain the oil’s full taste and health benefits.

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