Over the Chinese New Year holidays, my family came upon a new discovery which has radicalised the way we cook in the kitchen. Who would have thought that deep-frying can be done without more than a spoonful of cooking oil? By now, you would have guessed what we are talking about. Yes, it is the air fryer and it is going to change our lives, one family at a time.
What Are Air Fryers?
If you ask me, this phenomenon seemed to have risen in popularity only in the last couple of years. While my family and I have been resistant to the allure of air fryers over fears of how cooking without much oil could ruin the taste of our meals, we only recently learned that it doesn’t sacrifice flavour at all and that seals the deal for us. In place of using fat and oil to deep fry our food, air fryers blow superheated air to create the same effect. Be it, chicken, doughnuts or even light snacks, the air within the air fryer would be heated up to around 200-degree Celsius for the food to be cooked with a crisp. In a matter of minutes, you would find that your batch of fries or nuggets would be ready with that nice and even golden brown coating around it.
How it works is all down to a high-speed fan within that pumps up hot air towards the food sitting within the metal basket. Not only do you get your same delectable serving of fried food, but there are also less oil-related injuries with air fryers since they do not involve any open pan or oil spurting out.
Why Are Air Fryers Better?
According to the creators of the air fryer, cooking with the air fryer would use around 80% less fat as compared to the usual frying techniques like deep frying and pan-frying. That is great news for us since these partially hydrogenated oils are filled with trans fat that is bad for us. To put things into greater detail, the everyday consumption of these oils would raise our LDL cholesterol which would spike our risk of heart-related issues like stroke. To add to that, scientists have put air frying to the test and found that the process of air frying actually reduced the amount of moisture and oil in the end-product and there were lesser changes to the free fatty acids, peroxide values and physiochemical changes in food that has undergone the air frying process.
But there is something that you should certainly look out for and that is the formation of free radicals that could happen from the frying process. Despite the lesser amount of oil used, there are many factors that contribute to the increased rate of free radicals like the temperature, the type of oil and the food that is being cooked. If you are looking to turn your air fried food into a healthier experience, perhaps, you could look for oils like coconut oil that do not oxidise as easily.
Why You Shouldn’t Air Fry
To make a convincing and balanced argument, we have to venture into the negatives of the air fryer. As a comparison next to traditional frying techniques like the deep fry, food that are air fried are certainly much healthier since lesser oil is used here. However, the kinds of food that are subjected to air fried are most often food like nuggets, fries and unhealthy frozen food that lack nutrients and vitamins that your body requires. Due to how easy it is to whip up a bowl of these unhealthy snacks, the use of an air fryer might actually encourage you to eat poorly and this might cause you to fall back on your weight loss plan and lead you to stack on the pounds unknowingly.
What you should be looking is to incorporate a mixture of different cooking techniques and styles to your repertoire to ensure you have a good mix. Due to the high temperature involved in air frying, certain vitamins and minerals are destroyed during the cooking process like the fat-soluble vitamins of vitamin A, D, E and K and minerals like potassium, salt, calcium and magnesium. You might not think much of them, but they are necessities that your body requires for it to function well day in and out. Make the switch to more natural and raw-based food like vegetables and fruits to give your body the nutrients it needs. When you eat more nutrient-dense food like eggplant or spinach, you are feeding your body and mind well and this would ensure a sustainable lifestyle that your family would appreciate.
Air fryers are quick and convenient and it goes without saying that they deserve a place on top of our kitchen counter since they provide delicious food for those with a busy lifestyle within a matter of minutes. But on top of the usual food that an air fryer can cook, it is as important to build a diet that consists of the various food groups like dairy, vegetables and fruits. These food deserve a special place in our diet based on the nutrients and vitamins they provide and it is something that cannot be substituted with food that has been air fried. A healthy lifestyle is more than just exercise, it is a lot of those little decisions you have to make throughout your year.