Most of us don’t pay enough attention to the type of cookware used on a daily basis in our cooking “feats” in the kitchen.And exactly this routine can determine our health!
Many of us have started paying close attention to what our food is being sprayed with, the ingredients that are added to our foods and especially, if it has been genetically modified, correct?
But we also need to take another look at our cookware and make sure our costly whole foods are being prepared in quality materials. Some cookware is better than others and some is just very toxic.
The top 5 most toxic cookware:
1. Non-stick coating of cookware / TEFLON
The non-stick coating is made of fluoropolymers. This has been shown to give off perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) when it is heated. PFOA produces various types of tumors in rats.
This substance builds up in our systems because our bodies cannot metabolize PFOA. The EPA has not yet “determined” if PFOA is a carcinogen. I find this odd, to say the least, since it is more than likely detectible in every person’s blood, in the developed countries. I was happy to hear that by the end of 2015, cookware manufactures will be eliminating PFOA from their products!
Teflon can scratch, chip and flake. “Exposure to Teflon resins at temperatures above 393ºF may produce a condition termed polymer fume fever characterized by flu-like symptoms such as chills, fever, body aches, nausea and occasional vomiting,” announced the Federal Aviation Agency Occupational Health & Safety Bulletin.
A chemical, C-8, used to make non-stick coated pans has been linked to birth defects in humans to cancer in laboratory animals. The chemical is also present in the blood for up to 4 years and can show up in breast milk.
Copper is a soft metal and is often combined with nickel. Both of these metals release metallic toxins when heated. So, these pots and pans will seep toxins into your food when it is cooked or reheated in them. Copper is actually an essential trace mineral that strengthens bones, immune systems, boosts energy, and strengthens connective tissue.
However, Dr. Lawrence Wilson has debated that an excess of copper can actually be harmful to the body. Vitamin C deficiency, various cancers associated with high levels of estrogen, and connective tissue problems, are his concerns.
As far as nickel is concerned, excessive amounts of nickel can cause the development of thyroid disease, heart disease and even cancer. These 2 soft metals, in excess amounts are very bad for our health.
This may come as a surprise, but some ceramic glaze, glass and enameled cookware can contain lead. Lead is used to give the cookware strength and a uniform color. Children under 6 years of age are most at risk of lead poisoning. And as you probably suspected, lead does leech into our food when heated. Especially if something is labeled with “for decoration only”, should never be cooked or served in this product. It is labeled that way for a good reason. Even low amounts of lead can cause damage to brain development, among other health dangers.
The dangers of this soft metal intake have been discussed for many years because there is an extreme chemical reaction between food and an aluminum pan. Excess of aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
“All Vegetables cooked in aluminum produce hydroxide poison which neutralizes digestive juices, producing stomach and gastrointestinal trouble, such as stomach ulcers and colitis,” is stated in Dr. A. McGuigan’s Report on Findings for the Federal Trade Comm. The sale of aluminum cookware is prohibited in Germany, France, Belgium, Great Britain, Switzerland, Hungary and Brazil.
Nowadays, aluminum pots and pans are better anodized (that is coated with a protective or decorative oxide by making the metal the anode of an electrolytic cell. In such case, aluminum leeches less, but for the safety of my mind and body, I chose to avoid aluminum cookware completely!
5. Stainless steel
What about stainless steel? Stainless steel is made of metals including: iron, nickel, chromium, titanium, copper, molybdenum and vanadium. Lesser quality (especially when scratched or scored) stainless steel cookware can leech these alloyed metals (that is mixed metals) directly into our food.
There are many grades of stainless steel. Regular stainless steel cookware is made from different alloys including scrap metal. “Most stainless steel sold in stores is of such a nature to allow chrome and nickel to bleed into the foods as the salts and acids of the food react with the pot,” says Dr. Shelton. So, for cleanliness and safety reasons, your food should be cooked in only high -grade surgical stainless steel.
Three top safe cookware alternatives:
T-304 stainless steel: This alloy is non-leeching and evenly distributes heat. A disadvantage may be that it does require large amounts of oil when cooking in order to create a non-stick surface.
316Ti stainless steel: The cooking surface of Saladmaster® cookware is 316Ti surgical stainless steel it is the highest grade of steel used in the cookware industry. It is non-porous, meaning you can cook without oil and it is much easier to clean than regular stainless steel.
Regarding the metal, most cookware sold in stores is an 18/10 grade of steel at its best. Because of the softness of this grade of metal, when heated, it expands and the food sticks to the pan.
You are then forced to cook with oil and the pan becomes difficult to clean. In addition the natural acids and salts contained in our foods can create a chemical reaction with ordinary cooking surfaces.
“The kind of steel used in most stainless steel cookware is not the best metal in which to prepare foods. Most stainless steel cookware sold in stores is of such a nature as to allow chrome and nickel to bleed out into foods as water and food chemicals react with the walls of the vessels as they are heated. The chrome and nickel salts are retained when ingested. They cannot be eliminated. They build up and in time can create troublesome conditions,” – Dr. Shelton’s Hygienic Review Division of Science, Engineering and Technology, The Pennsylvania State University at Erie, The Behrend College, 16563 Erie, Pennsylvania, USA.
Xtrema ceramic: This ceramics’ glaze is made with non-toxic, 100% inorganic minerals and oxides. Xtrema glaze contains no metals, no lead and no cadmium. The company has even released their products’ test results for heavy metal leeching.
Cast iron: Cookware made of cast iron is the only cookware that provides you with nutritional benefits. It releases a small amount of iron into food every time you cook. Cooking food with cast iron will help boost your iron levels especially when you are cooking highly acidic foods like tomatoes.
Since cast iron is most porous of all metals, grease can turn rancid in pores. For this reason, you must neatly maintain your cast iron cookware as prescribed by the producer.Try those Best Backpacking Cookware.
TO RECAP: No matter how high the purity and quality of the food we purchase is, we need to make healthy choices when it comes to how we prepare our food. Consider replacing your current cookware if it is not a healthy option, to something you can feel good about when cooking your family’s healthy food in.