Types Of ‘Safe’ Cookware You Should Be Using
With the rise in the advocacy for healthy eating, many homes are gradually adjusting to more healthy options, however what many people do not know is that the cookware used to make the food is almost as important as the food itself. The chemicals used in the cookware itself don’t just stay in the pots and pans. They can actually leach into the food you cook and get released into the air when the cookware is heated. So even the healthiest diet can result in health complications if your cookware is toxic.
With the overwhelming number of cookware options in the market, which one is safe? Here is a list of safe cookware and also others you can use but should be cautious of.
Enamel-Coated Cast Iron cookware:
Enamel-Coated Cast Iron cookware is super durable and one of the safest options out there because it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals that could leach into food. Enameled cast iron has a porcelain coating, made from powdered glass, which makes it rust-proof and easy to maintain. Cast iron is naturally non-stick once it is seasoned” properly with oil.
The con though is that it is heavy and fairly high maintenance.
Regular Cast Iron cookware on the other hand may add a bit of extra iron to whatever you’re cooking, though no one knows exactly how much.
Titanium cookware sets are one of the safer non-stick varieties available majorly because “Titanium is a safe metal”. Cookware made with titanium is lighter weight, durable, doesn’t leach into your food, and is typically more affordable than many other options. Furthermore, it’s highly resistant to rust and scratching. When exposed to air and water, the metal reacts with the oxygen it is exposed to, creating a natural titanium dioxide shield around itself.
Ceramic cookware is a “generally safe” option as long as it is 100% ceramic. Other perks of ceramic are its’ scratch resistance and slow and even cooking. With 100% ceramic cookware, you don’t have to worry about coatings or leaching of chemicals.
Ceramic-coated cookware may seems like a safe option at first but once it starts chipping after several months of everyday use, lead and cadmium that is sometimes found in the coating or neurotoxic aluminum that’s under the ceramic coating will end up in your food and later in your body.
Glass containers are excellent to use when baking, as long as one uses a heat-tolerant glass such as Pyrex. You can use most glass cookware on electric stoves, but not gas ones. However, glass is heavier and more fragile than many other types of cookware, doesn’t work on induction stoves, and is not non-stick.
Stainless steel cookware:
If you’re going to use stainless steel cookware, be sure to treat it well. This variety is a mix of various metals such as nickel and chromium, which can migrate into food if your pan is damaged or worn, but apart from that it is safe. However, stainless steel isn’t great for frying or as sauté pans because it isn’t non-stick. It requires either a lot of water or some oil to keep food from sticking.
Cookware you can use but with caution:
Teflon Non-stick (the ones free of PTFE and PFOA): The non-stick properties of Teflon cookware are achieved with a coating of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), which is a plastic polymer that starts to leach toxins when heated above 572 degrees Fahrenheit. These toxic fumes lead to flu-like symptoms called polymer fume fever, informally known as Teflon flu. Another chemical compound found in Teflon cookware is PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), which has been linked to several types of cancer including breast, prostate, and ovarian cancer. Though reports say Teflon stopped using the problematic PFOE in 2013, don’t use metal utensils on such non-stick surfaces, instead use heat-safe materials such as hard nylon, silicone or wood.
Copper cookware: This not only conducts heat well, but it is also attractive and durable. Just steer clear if you have Wilson’s disease, a rare inherited disorder. Copper looks nice, but it can be toxic if it is not lined with stainless steel – or if it has a thin coating and the coating scratches off – copper can also leach into your food and enter your body. The coating can also start wearing off after being scrubbed and cleaned. Even though small amounts of copper are necessary for health, too much copper can be harmful and can contribute to neuro-degenerative disease.
Anodized aluminium: Anodized aluminium is the safest aluminum option. If you prefer to use aluminum, anodized may be a safer choice. Non-anodized aluminum products pose the risk of introducing trace amounts of aluminum into food. Aluminum is a neurotoxic metal. Elevated aluminum levels have been linked to several central nervous system diseases, including Alzheimer’s and ALS.
*Replace cookware made of aluminum or nonstick every 2 to 3 years or when gouges or scratches in the coating happen.