Your cookware can affect your health just as much as the food you eat can, because your cookware is basically what contains your food, processes it and often preserves it. So, being attentive to what kind of vessels you are using for cooking is essential to avoid any sort of health risks.
Many kitchen pots that are made of aluminum are linked to different neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s due to its property of leaching into food easily. Many of these common utensils used for cooking pose health risks that you may never have known.
This article will provide a guideline on what kinds of cookware you should avoid to prevent any sort of toxins from entering your food and thereby your body as well as tell you why you need healthier alternatives of cookware.
Nonstick and waterproof utensils have long been a matter of debate due to its link with cancer as well as many other health concerns. The main material within nonstick pans that make it harmful is an ingredient called Teflon.
Nonstick pans are metal pans covered with Teflon to make the surface non-sticky. But with use and wear, the coating starts to come off and hence end up in food that is cooked in it. This coating made of Teflon can contain PFOA, a perfluorochemical that is very toxic.
Washing a nonstick pan may be easy. But when you are cooking food in it, the heat causes these chemicals to leach into the food. Moreover, any utensil used on it that can cause scratching can worsen the leaching and cause more of the material to fall into the food.
So, what does PFOA do? Scientific research reveals that this chemical has been the root of different kidney, cardiovascular and cancer-related diseases.
It has been known to stunt the growth and development in off spring, cause birth defects as well as ADHD or otherwise known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. These reasons should be enough to ditch nonstick pans for good.
Aluminum utensils are very popular due to its reasonable pricing, but it might just not be worth it due to the harms it can cause to your health. Yes, it does conduct heat well making cooking easy. But it can leach off into food very easily.
Aluminum is not good for our health. But cookware made of this metal can cause bits of the metal to enter your food and thus your bloodstream. Studies have shown that continuous ingestion of aluminum can penetrate different organs of your body and accumulate in your kidney, lungs, liver, brain, thyroid and more.
It tries to replace the calcium and phosphate elements in your body, which, in turn, harms your bones by making them weak.
Since it also enters your brain, it can lead to neurotoxic diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia. Besides that, it has been linked with different diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart diseases.
Anodized aluminum utensils may seem like a better alternative due to its scratch-resisting, non-reactive and nonstick properties, but it Can be scratch to leach off metal into food and hence it Will react to foods that contain acids such as tomato, wine, etc.
Copper Pans And Pots
Copper utensils have long been used for storing water overnight due to its antimicrobial properties that prevent bacteria from entering the water stored in the copper vessel. This might seem like it has no harm. But research says otherwise.
Copper cookwares have linings of tin to prevent any sort of reaction between copper and food. They are known to be easy to use and clean, long-lasting and good heat conductor. But it can also harm your body due to its contraceptive properties.
Copper can cause harm to reproductive processes including producing toxins in your liver as well as kidneys.
This can only happen when copper from your utensils seep into your food, which can easily happen with scratching and use over time. Large levels of this metal, when ingested, can cause vomiting as well as diarrhea. Cooking acidic food can accelerate this effect.
The Cookware that is Right for You
Steel cookware can be good for you depending on what quality you are using. Usually, lower quality steel cookware is harmful to health. On the other hand, Stainless steel is considered to be one of the healthiest cookware.
Stainless steel is very durable and resistant to scratches along with being inexpensive. It is not good at conducting heat, which is why it requires tons of grease for cooking.
The coating on this utensil which makes it stainless is made from nickel, chromium and other combinations of metals. It is mostly nonreactive, but if you are allergic to nickel, you may want to avoid it.
Carbon steel is another kind of material of cookware that has lightweight elements and heat-resistant properties. It acts as a nonstick pan without the additives. It can, however, cause rusting if not seasoned properly.
Enameled steel is another type of pan that is made of steel and coated with a layer of thin enamel for the nonstick property. This one is also lightweight and inexpensive. But it cannot resist heat and can cause rusting that lead to chipping.
Boiling in iron utensils can cause chipping that will lead to iron entering the body. It can be harmful to some people, but for most people, it is considered to be quite a nutritious element. It can only cause harm through oxidation that can cause cardiovascular diseases and even cancer.
Cast iron utensils, however, can be very beneficial due to its properties and it's being one of the classic kitchen utensils. It conducts heat well, is easy to clean, and use, and is very durable. Using cast iron daily can cause some chipping of it in food though.
Hence you have enameled cast irons, which is a modern version of the classic. It has all the characteristics of cast iron and without the chipping property of it. The only drawbacks are the fact that it takes a while to heat up and is costlier than regular cast iron.
Besides steel and iron, there are other healthier and safer options in cookware such as glass, clay, ceramic, etc.
Why Safe Cookware is Important
Nontoxic cookware can save a lot of energy since it usually consumes lesser heat and lesser time to cook food. This is because they are good conductors of heat. They are easy to clean and help to retain different nutrients that are good for your body.
Cooking vegetables can cause it to lose some of its important nutrients. But good quality cookware will help to prevent that. It may seem like an expensive purchase, but it is an investment that is worth the cost.
It is important to be careful about the kind of cookware you use. You will have your requirements when it comes to cookware. You may want cookware that is more heat resistant or more heat conductive and so on. All you need to do is some research to figure out what is best for you.