These days, more and more people look for organic food to avoid potential contamination from chemicals. But, what about chemicals that come from cookware? Turns out, some cookware may contain chemicals that can pose a health risk. Fortunately, there’s lots of healthy cookware options that don’t produce any negative side-effects. Read below to find an option that works for you.
Finding The Right Cookware For You And The Fam
Walk the aisles of a kitchen supply store and you’ll see a huge variety of pots and pans. Copper. Stainless steel. Cast iron. Non-stick. On and on the list goes. Choosing the right one can be a daunting task. Especially, if you have concerns about unhealthy chemicals and residues.
The Sticky Side Of Non-Stick Cookware
Non-stick pans coated with Teflon can be handy. Unfortunately, the “magical” surface that keeps food from sticking isn’t all that magical at all.
In fact, the perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) used to make non-stick coating in the past was linked to serious illnesses. As such, PFOA was banned and is no longer used to make chemical-based non-stick surfaces in the U.S.1
The industry now uses a short-chain compound similar to PFOA. However, there is little evidence to prove that this chemical substitute is any healthier.2 As such, health professionals around the world have called for reducing these chemicals in production.3
To support the health of yourself as well as those you may cook for, it’s important to use cookware made from safe material. The good news is that there are lots of non-toxic cookware options available.
Healthy Cookware For Every Home
These are all great substitutes for chemical coated pans. Look for these materials the next time you need some new cookware:
- Stainless steel
- Copper interior with tin or steel coating
- Cast iron
- Glass cookware
- Carbon Steel
Typically, pots and pans made with the materials above are not coated with any additional chemicals. That means they don’t leach any harmful toxins into your food during cooking. Learn more about the advantages of each one below.4,5
Glass is a non-reactive, inert material. That means it doesn’t release any chemicals into your food when it heats up. This non-toxic cookware is particularly great for baking in the oven and is also microwave safe.6
However, you do need to be careful with glass on a flame. Most glass cookware cannot withstand high levels of direct heat. This all depends on the type of glass used in production, so be sure to read the labels for proper handling.7
Cast Iron Cookware
This is one of the most trusted materials around for cooking. Cast iron has been used for many years as a material for cooking equipment. It is sturdy and stands up to high temperatures. Cast iron holds heat for long periods of time and works well as a frying pan.8
Cast iron does leach small amounts of iron into food, but it’s still considered non-toxic cookware. That’s because extra iron can be beneficial for those with iron deficiencies.9 If you have high iron levels, you may want to speak to a doctor before using cast iron pans.
Enameled Cast Iron Cookware
A drawback to cast iron is that you can’t wash it off with water because it will rust. That’s where enamel coating comes to the rescue. This coating is made from powdered glass, which doesn’t leach any chemicals or iron into your food.10
Enamel cookware allows you to get the same levels of high heat as cast iron, with the added benefits of a non-stick and rust-proof surface.11
Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel is a favorite of chefs across the world. As a material, it makes for very durable pots and pans. Stainless steel doesn’t react with acidic food. It also heats evenly and is dishwasher safe.12
There are a wide variety of stainless steel pots and pans available. Some have copper interiors to help distribute heat. Others are brushed stainless steel to help prevent sticking. Choose the stainless steel that is right for you. No matter what, you can rest assured that you have a nice piece of healthy cookware with no related health concerns.13
Carbon Steel Cookware
Carbon steel is another great material. It is more closely related to cast iron than stainless steel in the way it cooks. Carbon steel offers great levels of heat retention like cast iron, and offers a healthy, non-stick cooking surface. The two things that set carbon steel apart are that it has a smooth cooking surface and is lighter than cast iron.14
Cookware That May Need Extra Consideration
Be cautious and do your research before purchasing or cooking with these materials. You want to be confident in their safety before use:
- Ceramic coating
- Copper Cookware
Copper distributes heat well and creates a nice, even cooking surface. But, a copper pan needs to be lined with another metal to prevent the copper from leaching into your food. If you see any spots of copper shining through, it’s probably time for new ones.15
Cookware has been made out of ceramic for centuries. In fact, the oldest ceramic pot is around 15,000 years old.16 Ceramic pots and pans are usually made from clay and other natural materials. They provide a naturally non-stick surface without the need for Teflon or other harmful compounds. Additionally, ceramic pots and pans don’t react with acidic foods or leach out any harmful chemicals.17
However, lots of ceramic cookware sets are simply ceramic coated. Ceramic coating is typically applied using a nanoparticle coating. This can chip and flake with time and use. The side-effects and risks of ingesting these particles is still unknown.18 To avoid any potential health risks associated with a ceramic coating, consider only purchasing fully ceramic pots and pans.
Cook With Confidence
Take the time to research your cookware before purchasing a new set. Pots and pans are made from all sorts of materials. Some of them, like stainless steel or cast iron, are great surfaces for cooking chemical-free.
Other pans, such as those coated with Teflon, must be used carefully. Overheating can cause harmful chemicals to off-gas or leach into the food. Also, chipping of materials that line pans made from copper may be unhealthy.
That’s why it’s so important to look for safe metals and materials. They provide some of the most convenient, durable, and effective cooking surfaces around. But, most importantly, they let you focus on what matters most in the kitchen – cooking delicious meals that support your health.