There’s just something about deep-fried food that is so irresistible…crisp chips, battered fish and calamari, crumbed chicken strips, cheese sticks. It’s all delicious, there’s no doubt. But, these carry some serious health warnings with them, which is why air fryers have become more and more popular lately.
What’s Wrong with Deep-Fried Food?
Not all fats and calories are bad. In fact, we need them to survive, thrive, and keep youthful and healthy. But, deep-fried foods tend to be extremely high in the kinds of fats that cause health issues. These are called trans (or unsaturated) fats and have been linked to:
- Increasing your risk of heart disease
- Causing inflammation and the chronic diseases that result from it
- Upping your risk of developing diabetes
- Damaging the lining of your blood vessels
In addition, most deep-fried food isn’t made with good quality oil. Rather, seed oils (like canola and sunflower) are used, which have been shown to be inferior to oils like olive, avocado and coconut oil in terms of their health benefits. The food absorbs this bad-quality, overheated oil in shocking quantities, and loses much of its nutritive value.
What Does an Air Fryer Do?
Air fryers use only about a tablespoon of oil along with hot air to create the same kind of crisp deliciousness that can only otherwise be achieved by deep frying food. So, you get very similar results with little to none of the bad effects (depending on which foods you choose).
It circulates the hot air around the food to achieve a uniform crispiness, making it feel and taste authentically fried.
Health Benefits of Air Fryers
Air fryers allow you to use healthier oils, like coconut or avocado, in much smaller quantities. In addition, the food doesn’t lose its nutrition in the process. Of course, you still need to make good choices about the kinds of food you cook in an air fryer. Lean meats and vegetables are always going to be healthier than processed foods, heavy carbohydrates, or foods with sugar in them.
Here are some of the health benefits of using air fryers:
- This type of cooking reduces your risk of developing many of the health issues that are associated with eating moderate to high amounts of trans fats. These include heart disease, cancer, and insulin intolerance.
- Air fryers can help you on your journey to weight loss because you can still enjoy tasty food without all of the unhealthy fat. Remember that you still need the healthy fats found in olive oil, avocados, oily fish, and so on. These are essential to your health and to weight control.
- They’re safer to have around the home than deep-fat fryers, especially if you have children. Hot oil is extremely dangerous and tends to splatter easily. Although air fryers do get hot, there’s no oil to splatter or spill.
- They don’t heat large quantities of trans fats to temperatures that cause dangerous compounds to form. These compounds, called acrylamides, have been linked to various kinds of cancer.
Yummy Meal Ideas for Air Fryers
Air fryers are extremely versatile, allowing you to create so many different kinds of tantalising dishes. Here are some meal ideas to spark your imagination and creativity:
- Chicken pieces or strips in panko crumbs.
- Baby marrow, corn and halloumi fritters – see the recipe here.
- Prawns with honey and lime.
- Crispy Brussels sprouts – find the recipe here.
- Fish coated in a light seasoned flour.
- Battered eggplant slices.
- Mini Nutella doughnuts – find the recipe here.
- Beef wellington.
- Mini homemade pies and sausage rolls.
- Panko-crumbed prawns.
- Battered spicy cauliflower bites – find the recipe here.
- Sweet potato chips.
- Meatballs (try lamb or chicken for something different).
- Chicken wings with sweet chilli basting – find the recipe here.
- Steak coated in melted butter.
- Fish or crab cakes.
- Honey-glazed salmon fillets.
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