How Your Cookware Impacts Your Health
October 14, 2023
by Vida Shahriar, R.H.N., JD, BA (simplyvida.ca)
There are a variety of different cookware and storage containers used daily for foods. It is important to understand the potential harms that some have on your health and alternatives to invest in to support your body.
This article will discuss the harmful implications that plastic, Teflon, and air fryers can have on your health. It will also discuss glass, stainless steel, and cast iron as healthier alternatives for cooking and storing foods.
Plastic, Teflon, and Air Fryers
These types of cookware and food storage containers contain harmful raw materials that impair the normal functioning of the body. Specifically, plastics contains ethylene, propylene, BPA, DEHP, and other harmful raw materials used to produce the plastic. These raw materials can leach into your foods when microwaved or used to store food. These toxins are known endocrine disruptors that can reduce fertility, create an excessive burden on the liver to filter out these toxins, dysregulate blood pressure, impair hormone signaling in which all can lead to and exacerbate low mood, low energy, sleep issues, headaches, and weight gain. Specifically, these symptoms are linked to the xenoestrogens in plastics that mimic estrogen in the body and disrupt the overall hormone balance in the body.
Teflon, air fryers and other cookware marketed as non-stick contain synthetic coatings of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and Per – and Polyfluorinated (PFAS) which are chemicals used to make the plastic that can leach into foods when heated. These chemicals can release carcinogens that can lead to cancer if exposed to overtime. Specifically, be mindful of these items if they already have scratches on them as they can release more harmful chemicals into the foods you are ingesting and continue to negatively impact all body systems.
These cookware and food storage containers can interfere with the conversion of certain hormones in the body, they can accumulate in fat cells, and they compete with essential nutrients in the body leading to mineral and vitamin depletion. The impact that these toxic chemicals have on hormones can create a rippling impact on the entire body as hormones control and mitigate every aspect of
Glass, Stainless Steel, and Cast Iron
These types of cookware and food storage containers are healthier alternatives to the ones discussed above. Specifically, glass is an impermeable material which means that fluid is not able to pass through it allowing the material to remain intact and clean. Glass is also easy to clean, and you can visibly see with the naked eye any cracks or dirt buildup.
High quality stainless steel contains less chemicals and allows for evenly dispersed heating to support your cooking methods. Stainless steel may have heavy metals such as chromium and nickel and this can be reduced if you ensure that the stainless steel is uncoated and the number on the bottom reads either 18/8 or 18/10 to ensure that you are using a high quality one to reduce the risk of any potential contaminants leaching into your foods.
Cast iron pans are another alternative that can naturally fortify your foods with iron. Please note that you should have your Medical Doctor test your iron levels before switching to cast iron pans as an excessive amount of iron can be harmful to the body. This option requires more work than the other alternatives as it is important to dry the pan immediately after washing to avoid rust from forming.
It is important to be mindful that the same implications are attached to drinkware that contain similar toxic chemicals and glass bottles should be used as a replacement to limit the toxic exposure. Specifically, borosilicate glass can be a good option if you are looking to have both hot and cold drinks as this type of glass is known to be thermal shock resistant and is less likely to crack.