Safe Cookware: How To Choose The Healthiest Cookware
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Is your cookware safe?
Did you know that most cookware people use today isn’t safe?
But how do you choose healthy cookware? What’s safe and what’s not?
From lead poisoning to cancer, what you cook with can make or break your health.
Non-stick pans have grown in popularity over the last few decades and they might be convenient but they are far from healthy. According to some studies, there has been an increase in testicular, thyroid and kidney cancer due to exposure to PFOA- the chemical found in a lot of non-stick pans.
So what’s the best way to choose the healthiest cookware for our families?
Before we talk about how to choose the healthiest cookware, we need to know what cookware is unsafe and toxic to our health.
4 types of Cookware that are a cause for concern
Teflon (also known as Polytetraflouroethylene or PTFE) used to be used in most non-stick cookware to coat and seal the surface.
In 2013, safety standards of Teflon were changed to be safer today but trace amounts of the chemical are still left on the surface.
PFOA is a chemical found in trace amounts of most non-stick cookware. This chemical has been linked to a number of health conditions and research has shown the links between exposure to this chemical and diseases like cancer, infertility and thyroid disorders.
Copper is a natural element commonly found in nature. It also makes for good cookware since it heats up evenly across the surface.
The body needs copper for optimal brain health, making energy and metabolizing iron. Copper can be found in foods like organ meats, whole grains and shellfish.
On the other hand, it’s easy to become overloaded with this heavy metal. Heavy metal toxicity is common today and too much copper in the body can result in liver damage, stomach pain, diarrhea and even vomiting.
Since copper can be found in food, cooking with copper cookware could lean you into getting copper toxicity.
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Aluminum is a good conductor of heat and can heat up a lot faster than copper. Most of the cookware sold today is made from aluminum as this metal is widely available in the earth.
Aluminum heats up evenly and makes for good cookware but when cooking acidic or salty foods, aluminum leaches into food.
Most aluminum cookware is anodized. This is the process where it is dipped into a very hot acidic solution. This seals the pan, making it scratch resistant and easy to care for. Anodized aluminum is said to not leach into food.
The problem is that aluminum is a highly reactive metal and once applied to any heat, this metal can leach into food.
Aluminum has been linked to serious neurological disorders, Alzheimers and breast cancer.
Aluminum is also in our food supply, personal care products and even common pharmaceutical drugs. Most people are already burdened by this heavy metal abundantly found in the environment.
Ceramic Coated cookware
Ceramic coated cookware is not the same as 100% pure ceramic cookware. Most ceramic coated cookware are made from stainless steel or aluminum and coated in a layer of ceramic-based non stick coating.
Ceramic coated pans have less even heat distribution. They are also less durable making them more prone to chipping and cracking on the surface.
If the metal underneath the coating is aluminum, cooking with it would be unsafe. Most ceramic coated pans are made with aluminum which is neuro-toxic.
How to choose the healthiest cookware
Choosing the healthiest and safest cookware doesn’t have to be hard or daunting.
The best thing to do is to look for 100% pure and natural materials that are non-toxic to human health.
Look for options that have the least amount of chemicals and unatural substances.
Glass is made from natural materials like limestone, sand and soda ash.
Glass cookware is a healthy option for baking because it does not react with acidic foods. It’s safe to use and does not leach toxic substances into food.
It’s also easy to clean, versatile and heats up evenly. While it does take a little longer than metal to heat up it cools down a lot slower which keeps food warmer for longer.
Ceramic has been around for thousands of years and is amoung the oldest cooking materials known to mankind. Ceramic has no chemicals or heavy metals and doesn’t react with food. It also does not release any odors or gases when heated at high temperatures. This make it a very safe option for cookware.
Most cookware on the market is made from metal pans coated with ceramic. These options are not the sames as pure 100% ceramic. When used, these pans can scratch off the ceramic coating leaving the food in contact with these metals that have been shown to be harmful to human health.
When looking for ceramic cookware, look for only 100% pure ceramic cookware.
Stainless Steel cookware
Stainless steele is a widely available material used for most kitchen items. Stainless steel is a strong metal that doesn’t easily corrode. This is one of the factors that makes this metal a go-to for most kitchen appliances.
This metal does not rust, flake or leach toxic chemicals into your food.
Stainless steel can be recycled and lasts a long time. So if you invest in a good set of quality grade stainless steel it should last for many years.
Cast Iron cookware
Cast iron is another healthy alternative to aluminum or copper and it’s been around for a long time. The only downsides about this type of cookwre is that is require you to keep up with seasoning the pan to keep it non-stick. It also rusts easily so it can’t be left in water or left to dry.
Caste iron keeps the flavour of food on it’s surface. Every time food is cooked, the flavour is sealed into the pan making the food taste even better each time. Other types of cast iron cookware are available like porcelain coated cast iron dutch ovens.
A note of caution: cast iron can leach iron into food. Most people who are not iron deficient can quickly accumulate too much iron by using this cookware. If you’re worried about too much iron, look for porcelin coated cast iron pans.
If you’re wondering how to choose the healthiest cookware when you’re just getting started, know that the process is simple. Once you’ve identified what materials are not safe, you can avoid those and find the ones that are healthy.
When in doubt, opt for natural materials. These materials are less likely to have toxic and harmful substances that can harm you or your family’s health.