There’s a room in your house that holds the key to longer life expectancy and a healthier old age. And chances are it’s a place where your parents and grandparents spent more time than you do. But researchers now say that for your own well-being you’d be smart to borrow a habit from them and go there more, too.
The room I’m talking about isn’t a home gym. It’s the kitchen…
The latest medical research demonstrates that it’s not how much time you spend in the gym, but how much time you use your kitchen that’s the crucial factor for better health.
In examining our daily habits, the nutrients we consume and how we age, researchers have discovered that people who generally spend more time in the kitchen preparing their meals and snacks live longer and age more gracefully than those who rarely grace the kitchen with their presence.
Lived 47 Percent Longer
A ten-year study conducted by researchers in Australia and Asia discovered that people in their sixties and older who cooked at home at least five times a week were 47 percent more likely to still be alive at the end of the study than those who rarely entered their kitchens.1
In the study, less than one in three people reported cooking in their kitchens at least five times a week. And more than 40 percent said they never cooked at home. Never!
That’s a big mistake.
The researchers found that the benefits of cooking at home, along with extra longevity, included more positive emotions and a healthier diet.
“Cooking is an activity that requires both good mental and physical health,” says researcher Mark Wahlqvist, PhD. “Besides the health benefits the actual cooked meal provides, there are other physiological benefits obtained from its production, purchase, preparation and eating, especially with others.”
Dr. Wahlqvist adds that, “We found that those who cooked more frequently had a better diet and more favorable nutrient densities. It is therefore possible that cooking is related to longevity through food choice and quality.”
Home Cooking May Help Keep Your Weight Down
A study at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Health shows that another benefit of home cooking is that it can help you avoid overeating and potentially help you keep your weight under better control.2
This research demonstrated that when you cook most of your meals at home you tend to eat less food and are more resistant to over-consuming large amounts of food.
And the home-cooking folks in this study were better able to control their eating even when they ate out at restaurants. But while the Hopkins researchers recognize that not everybody has time to cook at home, they believe that just becoming more knowledgeable about cooking can help you eat a better, more nutritious diet.
“Time and financial constraints are important barriers to healthy cooking and frequent cooking may not be feasible for everyone,” says researcher Julia A. Wolfson, PhD. “But people who cook infrequently may benefit from cooking classes, menu preparation, coaching or even lessons in how to navigate the grocery store or read calorie counts on menus in restaurants.”
Better Nutrition Starts in the Kitchen
Another study, this one at Newcastle University in England, shows that eating home cooked food also results in eating more fruits and vegetables while consuming extra amounts of vitamin C in your meals.
This investigation, which looked at the kitchen habits of people aged 29 to 64, found that cooking at home was linked to having a lower chance of being overweight, consuming more nutritious meals and carrying around less body fat.3
All of this adds up to strong evidence that rattling those pots and pans in your kitchen and cooking your own meals can make a significant difference in your health and longevity. What’s more, it can help your bank account. You’re sure to save a bundle when you eat at home.
It could even lower your risk of diabetes – as a study at Harvard finds.4 And who knows, you might even find that it’s fun!
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