(AscendHealthy.com) – No matter how healthy a meal might look, it could be harboring dangerous substances leached out from its cookware. Even some items marketed as safe might not be as toxin-free as they look. We examined info on all the most popular cookware materials — and we can only confidently say that, out of eight, three are completely safe to use. Here’s what we found.
See How Dangerous Some Cookware Is (And Try These 3 Safe Alternatives).
Potentially Dangerous Pots and Pans
Some types of cookware are safer than others, but when “safe” becomes a relative term, does it really matter which are better than the others? Not all of these will kill a canary in the room or add dangerous amounts of heavy metals to foods cooked in them, but each of the following have potential health risks:
- Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is the synthetic coating on nonstick surfaces like Teflon and Silverstone pans. Under most conditions, and when undamaged, this chemical remains stable. Once it reaches 530 degrees Fahrenheit, however, it begins to emit toxic fumes, the health hazards of which are still not fully understood in humans. We do know they are deadly to birds.
- Aluminum is toxic. Research shows that when it leaches into food, it may contribute to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
- Copper is essential to our functioning, so we need small amounts to stay healthy, but too much can cause stomach ulcers and damage to the kidneys and liver. Acidic foods cooked in uncoated or damaged copper pans can cause the release of unsafe amounts of this metal.
- Imported ceramic cookware can sometimes be contaminated with leaded glaze. Regulations in China have become stricter in recent years, but items imported from Mexico and some European countries may still have unacceptable amounts of lead.
- Stainless steel is considered top-of-the-line by most cooking enthusiasts, but most likely don’t know this alloy is composed of nickel, chromium and iron, all of which wind up in the food they cook. While chromium and iron are both essential minerals, nickel can cause irritation and allergic reactions in some people.
Some Safe Alternatives
There are a few cookware choices most people can turn to for reliably safe results. To be sure food doesn’t have any harmful chemicals or heavy metals, consider replacing the above with these types of cookware:
- Cast iron pots and pans leach significant amounts of iron and small amounts of copper and calcium into food without exposing users to any notable amounts of unwanted metals.
- Glass cookware, as long as it hasn’t been finished in a leaded glaze, is one of the safest choices out there. It won’t leach any chemicals into food, and options like Pyrex are pretty sturdy. EcoWatch points out that this option is also one of the most eco-friendly.
- Contaminant-free ceramic is also a great choice that won’t add lead and other poisons to food. StoneFryingPans.com recommends Caraway Cream Ceramic Cookware, WearEver Pure Living Nonstick Ceramic Cookware, and GreenPan Lima Hard Anodized Ceramic Cookware as its top three picks.
Most of us have a hard enough time keeping our menus healthy. Why chance using anything dangerous to cook them in? Some safer options might not have the convenience of Teflon or coated copper, but what’s the value of easier cleanup when the potential costs are so high?
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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