Between the large number of fast food chains and restaurants found in just about any urban area and the long hours people spend working nowadays, fewer people see the point in cooking their own meals. This is unfortunate since research suggests cooking may actually help people live longer. According to a new study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, cooking leads to better food choices, better nutrition, and overall, a better life.

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Taiwanese and Australian researchers looked at the lifestyle of free-living elderly Taiwanese people aged 65 and above and found that 43 percent of the participants never cooked. Among those who did, 17 percent cooked once or twice a week, nine percent cooked three to five times a week, and 31 percent cooked up to five times a week.

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Over a period of 10 years, 695 of the participants died. Upon further analysis, researchers found that those who cooked more were more likely to stay alive. They also discovered that these people were more likely to be women who were unmarried, lived alone, used public transportation, and shopped for groceries more than once a week. Aside from cooking more frequently, they also reported healthier eating habits and consuming more vitamin C and less cholesterol. In addition, women who cooked for their spouses were more likely to live longer. Men, on the other hand, cooked less and were at greater risk of early mortality. According to the study, the gender difference may have stemmed from men’s inability to cook to the same health advantage as women.

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Whatever the situation may be, cooking is regarded as a healthy habit. If you don’t know how to cook, it’s never too late to ask for lessons. There are many classes being offered to beginners, and even looking up recipes online is a step toward better nutrition.


(Photo by yalin_cyp via Flickr Creative Commons)

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