(NaturalHealth365) You might be bringing home the healthiest foods from the supermarket, but is your cookware keeping your food from keeping you healthy? For example, did you know that non-stick (Teflon coated) pans can emit toxic fumes when overheated? In fact, the fumes are so dangerous that they’ve been known to kill pet birds and cause flu-like symptoms in humans.
As if there weren’t enough environmental risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease, a 2012 study confirmed that perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) – the compound used to create Teflon coating in cookware – increased your risk of disease independent of traditional factors.
Dozens of other studies have linked Teflon to hormonal disorders, neurotoxicity, poor fetal development and elevated LDL cholesterol levels. Even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that PFOA is dangerous to human health – because it remains in the body for a very long time once exposed.
Safest cookware for your family to avoid disease
Keep in mind, along with teflon, health conscious consumers should avoid buying aluminum, tin, and low-quality stainless steel cookware. These materials can leach into your food and over time contribute to many serious health conditions including memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
So, let’s take a closer look at the best cookware for the health of your family.
Cast iron: One of the oldest and most reliable types of cookware still remains the cast iron pan. Many people forego this type of cookware because it can be challenging to learn how to control cooking temperature to reduce sticking.
However, with a little practice, you can cook and bake in cast iron without harmful side effects. If you experience any health concerns such as hemochromatosis – where you may have trouble converting iron – check with your healthcare provider before using.
Obviously, it’s worth noting that, cast iron cookware can leach small amount of inorganic iron into the food. If you’re at all concerned about avoiding excess iron – then ceramic cookware is your best choice.
Ceramic cookware is a sturdy material that can be heated to high temperatures when necessary. This material is also one of the only non-leaching cookware types available. Avoid using metal utensils and your ceramic pots and pans will serve you well for a long time.
If you’re looking for high quality ceramic cookware, check out Xtrema cookware – 100% all-natural ceramic cookware with absolutely no heavy metals or PFOA.
Thermolon is a material composed primarily of silicon and oxygen and works as a non-stick agent in cookware without the associated risks of PFOA. This material remains safe for meals that will be prepared at 450 degrees or below.
But note, if you’re cooking at over 450 degrees – then Thermolon would not be a good choice for you. In addition, even though Thermolon has a ‘ceramic coating’ – it is NOT pure ceramic cookware and I have seen customer complaints about paint flaking, when cooking at too high a temperature.
Should I skip cooking a few times a week?
While no single diet is best for everyone, there are many benefits to going raw, even if only a few times per week.
Choosing raw foods will eliminate the need to cook food at high temperatures – which can denature and degrade nutrient value and reduce your ability to benefit from maximum nutrition. While cooking certain foods at low temperatures can activate digestion and absorption of nutrients, consuming certain fruits, vegetables and herbs at room temperature actually activates an enzymatic process that can help regulate metabolism and immune function.
Wondering which foods are best to eat raw or cooked? Check out our previous discussion about raw foods with raw food chef, Jenny Ross.
Editor’s note: I, personally, know Jenny Ross and have done a couple live events at her restaurant in California. Jenny happens to be an extraordinary raw food chef and educator. If you’re interested in learning more about this style of food preparation, check out her website: JennyRossLivingFoods.com
About the author: Christine M. Dionese L.Ac, MSTOM is an integrative health expert, medical journalist and food writer. She’s dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health. Christine practices, writes and speaks on environmental functional medicine, epigenetics, food therapy and sustainable living.