Typically, when you go shopping for cookware, the last thing you ask is will this lovely pan make me sick? At this point, you are more likely concerned about how heavy the item is, if your food is going to get burned using it, how the food will turn out after cooking, how long the pot will last, and of course, how much you have to pay for it. The toxicity of cookware is not something you consider when buying cookware.
But, as it turns out, your pots and pans do have an impact on your health. When you cook, the cookware you use is doing more than serve as a container for your food. Pots and pans may be interacting with your food in ways you don’t know and adding all kinds of strange substances to it. The worst is, this can go on without any visible changes to the food. In other words, your food looks and tastes just as good as it should.
How do various types of cookware affect the food cooked in them? HomeDesignX will answer that question in this article.
1. Coated Or Nonstick Pots
The attraction of nonstick pots is that food doesn’t stick to them, does not leave a mess, and allows you to use less oil. But that convenience may come at a cost. The primary material the pot is made from – stainless steel, iron, etc. – may not be an issue, but the coating on top of that material can be problematic. These coatings often scrape off or become reactive with age and under high temperatures. This can be true for Teflon, Scotchgard, or ceramic coatings.
Teflon products are made from PFTE or Polytetrafluoroethylene and when this plastic polymer is heated to 572°F it starts to release toxins that can cause Polymer Fume Fever. This flu-like illness is characterized by headaches, chills, and high body temperatures.
Ceramic, on its own, is not dangerous but when used as a coating it is not very durable and prone to chip. If this happens, other materials inside the coating – such as lead, cadmium, or aluminum – will end up in your food.
2. Nontoxic Nonstick Cookware
As an alternative to Teflon or ceramic coated cookware, you can use real cast iron or ceramic pots and pans. Real cast iron pots and pans are the most durable types of cookware you can find. They heat well and evenly, plus they retain their heat very well. Real cast iron doesn’t leach any toxic substances into your food and it even comes in a nonstick variety. You may also season a regular cast iron pot to make it nonstick.
Alternatively, you can try pure (100%) ceramic pots and pans. Note that these are different from ceramic-coated cookware. Pure ceramic cookware is made from completely natural materials and fired in a furnace to give it that glasslike appearance. As long as ceramic cookware is certified as lead-free it is completely safe to use. They are the best types of cookware, apart from pure clay cookware, for retaining the full flavor and natural color of your food.
3. Aluminum Cookware And Aluminum Foil
Aluminum is very widely used because it is lightweight and durable. Aluminum, the compound, is a known neurotoxin linked to Alzheimer’s disease and ALS. Although aluminum cookware is coated, this coating wears out easily, making way for the aluminum to get into your food. The same issue is present with aluminum foil, but since the foil has no coating, food cooked in it has even higher amounts of aluminum. This process is accelerated when you cook acidic food in foil.
4. Glass Cookware
Glass, apart from its fragility, is a very safe type of cookware. Glass cookware does not release toxins into your food. Glass will not harbor bacteria or residues from past meals. Glass offers more options than metal cookware because you can use it inside a microwave. Also, being transparent, lets you see right into the food you are cooking, to know you know when it is time to add water or turn off the heat.
5. Uncoated Copper Pots
Copper cookware is really pretty and a great adornment for your kitchen. Its excellent heat
conducting abilities makes for quick and even heating. But uncoated copper pots can cause metal poisoning when you use them to cook acidic foods. But you may also face issues with coated copper pots due to the presence of nickel in the coating. Nickel exposure can cause health problems.
6. Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel is a safe option for cooking. It is lightweight like aluminum, will not scratch, and some of them are nonstick. Stainless steel also lasts a really long time. But when buying stainless steel cookware, there is something to be aware of. Most stainless steel is made from an alloy of iron, chromium, and nickel; avoid those types of pots. Look for food-grade stainless steel, they don’t contain nickel or chromium.