What is the safest cookware for your health? This is one of the much-debated questions in recent years. Health experts reveal that materials like Teflon and PFOA have harmful long-term effects on health.
There is no single option in cookware that will perform functionally and conveniently without having safety hazards. The best you can do is to choose certain cookware materials over others, as some materials are more harmful than others.
Safest Cookware Materials
There is no one perfect cookware material, however, with what’s already on the market, here are your best bets.
Ceramic cookware has been known as one of the best when it comes to the safety of use. Ceramics is known not to infiltrate food contents that are put on it. Further, heating ceramic cookware evenly is easy.
They are safe for the dishwasher, oven, microwave, and stove. You can use scrubbing pads without worrying about damaging the surface. However, ceramic does tend to break very easily, so you’ll have to be careful with it.
At present, there are no studies linking stoneware to toxicity. Stoneware is widely regarded as a great alternative to conventional bakeware such as aluminum baking sheets. It’s ideal for grilling vegetables and cooking baked goods such as cookies. Stoneware even includes crockeries like bread pans.
Although stoneware is difficult to clean, it can still add good flavor to your food and create an amazing cooking experience. Further, they’re durable and will last your entire life if you just know how to take care of them.
3. Cast Iron
Cast iron is another best option for cooking meat and pan-frying as it tends to be non-stick. It can heat your food evenly and help the food in retaining its flavor. Further, you can use it in your oven and stovetop.
However, cast iron leaks into food and this add a little bit of iron into your diet, that’s actually a good thing. Further, don’t forget to season your cast iron cookware properly before using it, as that’s what helps the surface to be non-stick.
4. Stainless Steel
This is another popular choice in safe cookware as it’s commonly available and one of the most inexpensive options. Stainless steel products always mention the chromium and nickel levels in stainless steel alloy. Look for the number 18, followed by a forward slash (/) and another number, e.g., 18/0, 18/10, or 18/8.
The 18 represents chromium, while the second number represents nickel levels. Keep in mind that the lower the nickel level, the better. Some manufacturers of stainless steel cookware are now selling nickel-free cookware.
However, be warned that there are a few concerns regarding chromium and nickel leaching. This is especially likely if you are cooking at high temperatures, cooking for a long time, or using acidic ingredients.
5. Glass & Corningware
Glass cookware works great for stovetop cooking without adding toxins to your food. However, you need to be careful as it is likely to break it. Further, it’s more expensive.
Alternatively, you can go with Corningware which is relatively cheaper and is known for not being toxic. Further, this is a great option for baking, although it’s not well suited to other cooking operations. This one is also great for refrigerator storage.
Safer Cookware Materials
1. Porcelain Enamel
Porcelain enamel cookware is usually cast iron with a type of enameled ceramic coating. The main conclusion to be drawn from studies about porcelain enamel is that only some brands are safe.
What you should be concerned about is whether traces of cadmium or lead are found in it. Cookware from cheaper brands tends to have high amounts of lead in them.
So, if you’re looking for budget options then you need to be careful. Alternatively, porcelain enamel is still a relatively safer option in comparison to PTFE or PFOA.
Ceramic-based compounds such as Thermolon look to be safer than traditional non-stick compounds. Thermolon is a sand derivative that contains silicon dioxide instead of PTFE.
However, there are concerns with nanoparticles and heavy metals that these materials raise. One report has linked titanium dioxide nanoparticles to certain types of malignant lesions. As studies did not provide enough answers regarding whether Thermalon releases titanium dioxide nanoparticles, use it with caution.
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Unsafe Cookware Materials
These are the cookware materials you should avoid.
Aluminum cookware is one of the most popular yet one of the most unsafe. It’s popular coz it’s convenient and lightweight, on top of being easy to clean.
However, in certain amounts, it can be toxic. The bad news is that researchers don’t yet know exactly what that amount is. Some studies have linked aluminum exposure to Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions. So, it’s better to avoid these and stay safe.
Non-stick is yet another popular option for cookware and is usually made from PFOA or PTFE. PFOA. Also known as C8, is the compound perfluorooctanoic acid, while PTFE is polytetrafluoroethylene. The latter is now patented as Teflon, which you have probably heard of.
Sadly, non-stick of these kinds or other traditional types are not completely safe. Standing near Teflon which has been heated to very high temperatures leads many people to suffer from “Teflon flu,” which occurs when you inhale the fumes from it.
The Bottom Line
We use cookware on a daily basis, so it’s important to make the right choice when purchasing them. In general, it’s best to avoid traditional non-stick. Also, avoid cooking at very high temperatures whenever you can.