Zoe Bingley-Pullin Shares the Nutritional Importance of Cooking at Lower Temperatures

Zoe Bingley-Pullin Shares the Nutritional Importance of Cooking at Lower Temperatures

When it comes to cooking, many of us approach this on autopilot and crank up the heat to full bore, hoping that this will shorten our cooking time and give a nice colour to our food.

However, have you ever considered the health and nutrient impacts that high heat cooking may have on food?

When food is heated to a high temperature; new compounds harmful to health can be created. Specifically, heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are two common carcinogens caused, when cooking meat at high temperatures, especially when meat is overcooked or blackened.

More recent research has similarly shown that regularly consuming red meat cooked at high temperatures and deep-fried foods may elevate cancer risk due to DNA damage caused by the cooking process.

To help overcome this, aside from cooking with reduced heat, research has found that marinating meat with herbs, natural antioxidants, can help to reduce the formation of these compounds. Specifically, marinades including rosemary and thyme may have the greatest positive effect.

Marinating Meat

From a nutrient perspective, there are any array of water-soluble nutrients which are susceptible to heat including vitamin C and B-vitamins. Using minimal cooking water and shorter cooking times helps with vitamin retention.

On the flip side, there are some fat-soluble antioxidants which are more bioavailable when consumed in cooked foods. A prime example of this is lycopene. Lycopene is a phytochemical which has antioxidant properties, found in tomatoes amongst other plant foods. Interestingly, lycopene absorption is enhanced even further when olive oil is added to the tomato during cooking. The same also applies to carotenoids found in foods such as carrots, kale and broccoli. Enjoy my recipe for Carrot, Sweet Corn, Coconut & Lemongrass Soup shared below!


If cooking with high heat is the best method for the type of dish you are cooking, the oil you choose to cook with is important. This is because the stability of oil can affect the nutritional composition and health benefits of oil. Specifically, when oils are exposed to heat, unhealthy by-products are produced. During the past few years, research has recommended assessing oil based on the on total content of polyunsaturated fat, oxidation stability and level of by-products produced when heated. Using this criteria, extra virgin olive oil comes out on top as it produces the lowest level of unhealthy compounds, making it a very healthy option to cook with at high temperatures. This also makes extra virgin olive oil a great choice for reduced heat cooking.

Blu. Cookware, which can be used on all types of cooktops, has been created using hard anodised aluminium which heats quickly and retains its heat well. This means, less heat and time is needed to cook your food which helps food to retain its nutrients and this also has a positive impact on energy usage – it’s a win win!

Carrot, Sweet corn, Coconut and Lemongrass Soup

Serves: 2

Prep: 10 minutes

Cooking: 35 minutes

Vegan/Vegetarian - Dairy Free - Gluten Free


1 leek, finely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled, finely chopped

2 sweet corn cobs, cut the corn off the cob

½ tbsp of wheat-free soy sauce (Tamari)

1 stalk of lemongrass, bash the ends and finely chop

1L miso stock (1tbsp. of miso paste to 1 cup of water)

200ml organic coconut milk

½ bunch coriander, washed and finely chopped including the stems


1. In a large saucepan add the leek and lemongrass, sweat for approx 5-10

minutes, with a little water and the lid on.

2. Add carrot, sweet corn, coconut, miso stock, soy sauce and continue to cook for

20-25 minutes, until tender.

The soup can be served blended or chunky.

Serve the soup with a tbsp of coriander.