What is the Safest Cookware to Use?
Finding the safest cookware to use is fundamental if you
strive for preparing healthy meals for your family. But doing it, is
not as easy as it seems. Not every cooking utensil that is advertised
on TV is good for you. A lot of them are convenient, but are they
making your life easier or endangering it?
Maybe you have heard about the uproar that Teflon caused
when several studies found out that heating it at a high temperature
causes it to break down and leach toxic perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)
into the food, or how high doses of aluminum can accumulate in the
brain tissue increasing the risk of Alzheimer.
Furthermore, aluminum and pfc's are not the only threats
present in cookware. Heavy metals, such as cadmium, lead,
nickel, copper, iron, and chromium are often used as materials to
mass-produce cooking utensils.
Healthy cookware is
available in many stores, but you must know what you are looking for.
The key for finding it, is to pay attention to the manufacturing
materials and how likely they are to leach into your food.
Avoid these Types of Kitchenware
I mentioned in the previous paragraph the two factors
you need to consider before picking any pan, pot, or skillet for your
kitchen. It is also important to know what not to buy and why. I
touched the topic a while ago, but I want to make sure you understand
the problems of using aluminum and Teflon cookware.
Almost everybody has at least one utensil made of
aluminum. Why? Well, it is cheap and heats well. This material is
excellent for making saucepans and skillets due its high thermal
conductivity. That is fantastic, except for the fact that aluminum is toxic and it may be
responsible for weak bones and serious neurological disorders.
So how does this metal gets into your food? If the
surface of your pan is made from this material, it will sprinkle your
meals with tiny but consistent particles (yeah that is one seasoning
you don't want). By cooking acidic foods at high temperatures for a
long time, more and more of this contaminant will sneak into your table
putting you at risk.
What you should do
Pay attention to the bottom of your pots and look for
scratches. Throw out all old aluminum cookware found in your kitchen
that has them.
Who doesn't love non-stick pans? You can fry potato
wedges and anything else you love without the torture of endless
scrubbing afterwards. Sadly, that comes with a hefty price.
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) which is a toxic
substance, is the main component of Teflon. PFOA's can escape from
Teflon when exposed to high temperatures (400°F is more than enough)
over a long time and can even kill your pet birds with its toxic
Thyroid, liver problems, and cancer are possible
consequences of exposing yourself to this dangerous substance. Even the
EPA called for the elimination of this chemical from all cookware.
What you should do
As soon as you notice the breakdown of the Teflon
coating from your skillets, toss them in the trash and get good quality
cookware. Don't worry, I will get into which pieces are the best ones
for you and your loved ones.
In the following
video, Dr. Axe explains how Teflon cookware may be responsible for a
vast number of health issues and what you can use instead.
Healthy Cookware and Bakeware Alternatives:
Don't feel disappointed if you find yourself getting rid of most of
your pans. It may hurt at first, but it is for your own good.
You will find the new alternatives in the market quite enticing, and I
can assure you they deliver. And now, it is time for me to tell you
what is the safest cookware to use. I'm so excited to share this with
you because it will boost not only the quality of your meals but also
your health. A few of the choices you will see are pricey for sure, but
plenty of low-cost options are up for grabs.
Ceramic is considered the least reactive and one of the
safest cookware to use. It preserves the yummy flavor of your dishes to
prevent them from tasting similar to metal or some other less
Ceramic pots are naturally non-stick, so you won't have
to scrub endlessly to take food remnants from them. Cleaning them is no
problem, and unlike Teflon, they can withstand heat without leaching
anything into your food.
They heat evenly and last for many years as long as you
take good care of them (please don't let your children near ceramic or
it won't last as long). Want to bake or microwave your food? No
problem. Ceramic bakeware will not only heat your meals properly, but
also make them taste better.
Finding ceramic pans is an easy task; however, not all
of them are safe. A lot of the decorative pieces of this material
contain high levels of lead in the glaze and if there's something you
don't want in your food is lead.
Imported ceramic cookware from countries such as China and Mexico are likely to
have the dangerous poison as well, so pick domestic pieces to be on the
safe side. You will know the good ones when you see the price as they
are quite expensive.
Stainless steel is an alloy made of iron, carbon,
molybdenum, nickel, and chromium. It is highly durable and resistant.
One of the best things about it, is that it is cheaper compared to
other quality materials such as ceramic or glass.
However, stainless steel pans have their flaws. You will
scrub a lot to clean them as they don't have the nonstick benefit,
although there are ways to get around it.
If for some reason the bottom of the pot gets damaged,
it may leach
nickel, chromium, and iron. Chromium and iron are not that much of a
problem unless taken in excessive amounts. Nickel on the other-hand,
may cause a lot of issues in people sensitive to it.
Before you go to the store and take home the first piece
salesperson pushes you, recognize that there are varying degrees of
stainless steel in terms of quality. While the good ones are more
expensive, they have fewer pores resulting in less food particles that
may get stuck during cooking making them easier to scrub.
Cheaper choices have more pores, are tougher to clean,
present a health risk if bacteria grow on trapped food. Additionally,
good stainless steel has a copper core that doesn't touch the food, but
helps distribute the heat for better cooking.
Enameled cast iron
for the highest quality bakeware and don't care about the price?
Enameled cast iron is what you need. It retains the flavor of anything
you are cooking in it, cleans without scrubbing, needs no seasoning,
and even looks like it was taken from a movie!
of enamel protects your food from coming into contact with the metal of
the pan and acts as a barrier against any possible contaminants. For
example, cooking tomatoes in a cast iron skillet (without enamel) can
cause a chemical reaction that affects their flavor, but that doesn't
happen with the enameled type.
Be wary that not all enameled
cast iron cookware is the same. Pans of low quality chip easily and
should be discarded once that happens.
made from cast iron are way better than Teflon and aluminum. They are
inexpensive and you get the improved flavor that only iron pots can
provide. Before using them though, you might need to stretch your
muscles as they are a bit weighty. Don't scream yet, they aren't 100
Being naturally non-stick (as long as you
season them right), you can fry food in them without worrying about the
cleaning. Stove, oven, or fire, it doesn't matter, cast iron gets the
job done! If you need iron in your diet, this is a fine way to fix the
But nothing in this world is perfect. To cook
with them, you need to season first. It is a lengthy process that
requires oil and heating for an hour or so in an oven but is worth it.
The cleaning is tricky as you shouldn't use soap or you risk ruining
Like any other piece of cookware, it has to be
thrown out if the surface layer gets damaged (you don't want that much
iron). Keep in mind that an iron overload
is possible and may cause vomit, diarrhea, and stomach cramps among
other health problems. Remember, acidic foods and cast iron don't mix
well so if you don't want weird tasting sauce don't cook tomatoes in it.
cast iron gets you a workout, stoneware is a complete weight lifting
routine. This piece of cookware is ideal for roasting, baking, and
making casseroles. It is heavy metal and chemical free (as long as it
is a good quality one) and the heat distribution is simply excellent.
Seasoning it is a must. It has to be done with fat or oil a few times
until it turns into a fine non-stick layer you can use every time.
problem with stoneware is that you can't clean it with soap or every
dish you make will have a distinct soapy flavor. Stoneware also has the
same issue of ceramic as some manufacturers load them with lead.
One of the best materials for cookware is titanium. As opposed to
ceramic and stone, it doesn't weight a ton and is tough.
won't leach metals into the food, lasts for a long time, and resists
corrosion. Similar to ceramic, you might need to make a budget to get
this superior cookware. Sadly, it doesn't conduct heat like copper or
aluminum. Cheap alternatives are available, but be wary as they could
contain aluminum and other non-desirable metals.
Glass pans are ideal to use for cooking in the gas stove
They are non-reactive and won't mess up your food in the same way
aluminum pans do. I love that they don't absorb the odor of the food,
plus heat proof or tempered glass is an excellent choice for food
storage as it is better than using plastic containers or aluminum foil
(which ruins your healthy food).
Pots made out of glass
have a few drawbacks. They are heavy and vulnerable to impacts, so you
must be careful when handling them to avoid breaking.
An interesting material often used in cookware is silicone.
It is claimed to be good for the planet as it doesn't pollute.
Additionally, it is durable, flexible, and non-stick, so it is ideal
for all kinds of baking. But does that mean it is safe? In theory,
silicone is inert, which means it shouldn't react with food or release
Still, that doesn't mean it stays the same
way when exposed to high temperatures or that any silicon-based ware
doesn't have other fillers that are hazardous.
If you really want to try it, use low to moderate
temperatures. Personally, I consider silicone safer than Teflon and
Pure copper cookware is loved by professional and amateur cooks alike. Why? It conducts heat
evenly which guarantees a well-cooked meal with little effort.
Unfortunately, there is a dark side to it.
leach out from the pot to the food and provoke massive digestive
discomfort. Though this may not happen if the layer exposed to the food
is made from another material, but even then, you must avoid scrapping
has a reputation of being unsafe and I happen to agree. However,
anodized aluminum pieces are slightly different. They are made by using
an electro-chemical reaction to bind the aluminum particles and prevent
their release into the food.
The pieces have a non-stick coating
resistant to scratches separating the aluminum from your food; this
makes it safe for your cooking, but if the coating gets chipped, the
pan should be thrown out immediately. The price for this type of
cookware is similar to the one of stainless steel. Be aware that cheap
versions of anodized aluminum may contain Teflon-like coating and that
defeats the purpose of the healthy cookware.
completely convinced the binding will keep every aluminum particle away
from my food, yet it is way better than plain aluminum.
Beyond the Cooking Pans
to use non toxic cookware in your kitchen is not only a matter of
selecting the right pans made from the best materials: it means you
have to use and care for them as instructed by the manufacturer as
well, so they remain safe and functional for years to come.
you are considering acquiring new cookware, you must have in mind the
stove or appliance in which it will be used. Kitchen utensils such as
forks, spoons, and spatulas also play a role in cooking healthy foods
as their material can have an effect in the scratching and scraping of
Now that you know what is the safest cookware to use,
it is time to do what you must: prepare a budget, pick the pans and
pots you want, and throw out your toxic cookware.
Go to Top