Healthiest Pots & Pans

Is there a difference between the pots and pans we cook with in terms of healthiness? This was a question posed to me last week from, Celia Dubey, who said it’s been on her mind most of her life… That’s when the Healthy Giraffe comes to the rescue. The short answer is, yes, there is a difference. I’ll share what I uncovered here from one of my go to resources, nutrtionfacts.org, as well as how to clean some of the tough stains in a healthy way.

Aluminum – not best option

  • Can be very light and used often when camping/traveling; if used sparingly it’s not a bad option
  • “Most of our aluminum exposure comes from processed junk that contains aluminum-containing food additives, including those within some processed cheeses, baking powders, cake mixes, frozen dough, and pancake mixes.”
  • “Approximately 20 percent of the daily intake of aluminum may come from aluminum cooking utensils, such as pans, pots, kettles, and trays.”
  • High levels of aluminum in our blood damages our DNA. “No surprise, since aluminum is considered to be a pro-oxidant agent.”

Teflon – not best option

  • Easy to clean
  • “At normal cooking temperatures, Teflon-coated cookware releases various gases and chemicals that present mild to severe toxicity.” 
  • “Apart from the gases released during heating the cooking pans, the coating itself starts damaging after a certain period. It is normally advised to use slow heating when cooking in Teflon-coated pans.” 

Cast Iron – better option

  • A little leaching metal from the pan can help improve iron status
  • Frying at high temperatures, vegetable oils can react with the iron to create trans fats = not good; additional tips…don’t fry in anything with oils…super unhealthy

Stainless Steel – best option

  • “Excellent option”
  • Leaching of metal is only when brand new. It decreases with each use and stabilizes after the sixth time you cook with it.
  • “Under more common day-to-day conditions, the use of stainless-steel pots is considered to be safe, even for most people who are acutely sensitive to those metals.”

Cleaning Tips (Stainless Steel)

  • Let pan cool a bit when cooking at high heat…do not put a very hot pan in cold water…could warp
  • Use scrub pad; even if they leave some marks it will not damage the pan or life span (wool pads could)
  • If stains are tough, soak pan in water and baking soda; if really deep leave the pan soaking for 20-30 minutes or even overnight; use scrub pad once again to remove excess
  • If you really have issues (like when I have walked away and forgot I had the pan going…ouch!) you can try boiling the baking soda and water combo and then wipe again

Thank you Celia for the question. Let me know if you have any other tips for cleaning stainless steel without the use of harsh chemicals.

– Add Health to Your Life

One thought on “Healthiest Pots & Pans

Add yours

  1. Thank you soooo much! Is Cuisinart stainless steel a good brand? It states “stainless steel with aluminum encapsulated base? This makes me think the aluminum is on the exterior so it’s ok. Would you agree?

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