In the modern day, the importance of cooking is often overlooked. However, there are a variety of cooking benefits that can have a major positive influence on your health. Later life means you have more time for cooking, so why not get involved in this pastime? You may be surprised just how beneficial it is for your mind and body.
Sense of Achievement
There’s something to be said for accomplishing even minor successes. Whether you’ve cooked your first boiled egg or constructed a full roast dinner, knowing you did that will boost your mood. The joy of success produces dopamine, often known as the ‘happy hormone’. Higher levels of dopamine can also improve motor functions and help to improve your decision-making abilities.
Many people complain of stress. It’s a consequence of the hustle and bustle of modern living. However, cooking has been shown to reduce stress levels. This comes from a combination of distraction and repetitive, almost meditative motions. Kneading bread, in particular, has been shown to reduce anxiety, amongst other cooking benefits.
Cooking gives you an opportunity to work your imagination. Whether you’re producing a meal like spaghetti bolognese or a treat like some cupcakes, you can deviate from your recipe or put a unique twist on its presentation. This self-expression can help encourage your wider imagination, which could lead you to pick up new hobbies elsewhere.
When you just grab ready meals, takeaways, and frozen food, you can find yourself running out of options. Cooking for yourself provides additional freedom of choice. You can try different combinations and recipes, and truly broaden your palate. Trying new things can also open you up to other cooking benefits, such as the sense of achievement of preparing a meal that becomes a new favourite.
When preparing your own meals, you may find that food costs go down. Ready meals and takeaways are more expensive than their components, providing less value for money. When cooking for yourself, you often end up with more ingredients left over; these can then be used in future meals without having to spend additional money. With costs of living increasing, saving money by preparing your own meals certainly ranks amongst the best cooking benefits.
Cooking for yourself can also have a positive impact on your appetite. In later life, your appetite may suffer; this is often a result of the lower calorie needs amongst elderly people. However, it remains important that you eat well. The process of cooking gives you something to look forward to, which improves appetite. The importance of variety, one of our aforementioned cooking benefits, also improves your appetite, as it avoids the tedium of the same meal every week.
When you cook your own food, you will often be eating healthier meals. We have mentioned ready meals and takeaways before in this article, but it’s important to recognise that these often have higher fat, salt, and sometimes sugar content than homemade meals. Healthier eating means healthier living, and cooking your own food brings several health benefits. You can measure out your ingredients to make sure you know what you’re eating, as well as being more mindful of how much you are eating of everything.
One of the most significant cooking benefits for the elderly is how it encourages your independence. Preparing your own meals reduces your dependence on other people. You are providing for yourself rather than relying on delivery drivers or friends. If you struggle to get out of the home, cooking for yourself can help you feel more in control. It helps build confidence when you plan your own meals and cook for yourself. Whilst it’s okay to ask for help, we recognise that it is reassuring to know you can handle things on your own.
Support from Lifeline24
At Lifeline24 we recognise that many people want to continue living independently. However, it is reassuring to know that support is there for you when you need it. By purchasing a personal alarm, you are putting yourself in safe hands.
A single press of a button alerts our Response Team. When your alarm is activated, they will assess the situation by speaking through the base unit. They will then inform your emergency contacts that you need assistance. In some circumstances they will also call the emergency services.