By blending the art of cooking with the science of medicine, Dr. John La Puma says the average home cook can create foods with incredible flavors and lifesaving health benefits. Dr. Oz talks with Dr. La Puma, author of ChefMD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine, who shares advice to help bring out the chef—and the doctor—that he says live within all of us!
How to hold a chef's knife: This invaluable kitchen tool can be intimidating if you don't know how to wield it, Dr. La Puma says. Grip the handle of the knife as if you're shaking hands with someone, or like you're holding a tennis racket with a forehand grip. "The knife is very secure and it actually becomes and extension of your hand," Dr. La Puma says.
How to tell when a fruit is ripe: Eating fruits at their peak freshness and ripeness will ensure you're getting the most health benefits, Dr. La Puma says. You can tell a fruit is ripe if it's heavy in your hand for its size, fragrant and has the right texture. For example, an apple should be firm, and a peach should give a little bit when you squeeze it.
When to buy organic: To avoid pesticides, hormones and other toxins, Dr. La Puma recommends buying organic milk and ketchup as well as fruits and vegetables that are very thin-skinned, such as peaches, potatoes and apples. "That's where our money can make a difference to our health."
Boost the bioavailability of your foods: Dr. La Puma says "bioavailability" is a fancy way of saying that the nutrients in your foods are body-ready, meaning they can be absorbed easily by your body. By storing watermelon on the kitchen counter instead of your refrigerator, Dr. La Puma say you can increase the bioavailability of licopene and beta carotene in that watermelon by 40 and 139 percent, respectively. Put full-fat dressing on your spinach salad, and your body will absorb seven times more of the health-boosting lutein found in the green, leafy vegetable. Add black pepper to curry dishes, and you'll increase the bioavailability of turmeric's health benefits.