Is baking good for your health?

This is a time of Christmas cakeyear when many of us bake more: Christmas cake, Christmas puddings, mince pies, trifle, cheesecake, even home-made chocolates and biscuits. Baking is a growing trend with many cook books and TV programmes devoted to it. However at this time of the year we have to deal with increased business in the form of Christmas shopping, increased socialising, and family gatherings and for many this means an increase in stress levels. So we may well be in need of something to lift our mood, such as baking. Painting has been described as therapeutic because you become so involved in what you are doing that you forget everything else, so could baking be considered in a similar vein? Measuring out ingredients and mixing them together takes a certain amount of concentration, and at the end instead of having a work of art to look at you have a delicious cake to eat, or offer to guests.

But aren’t cakes bad for us nutritionally because they are loaded with fat and sugar? It is true that eating too much fat and sugar is not good for us, but these ingredients make our food more interesting and fat provides essential nutrients. Fat and sugar both provide energy. However fat, including saturated fat, carries the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K into our body. If we cut them down too much our food becomes boring and we may be tempted to overeat to compensate. What’s more we will be missing out on essential nutrients. Also, in my opinion, anything you bake yourself from basic ingredients is more beneficial to your health as it doesn’t have preservatives or flavourings that interfere with good digestion. There is the added benefit that hopefully you have enjoyed making it and are proud of your achievements. So go ahead and get baking!

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