Dr. Gundry speaks a great deal about the things you should cook. He speaks a great deal about the things you shouldn’t cook. But, it’s time to talk about what you should cook WITH. Read on to discover if there’s such a thing as healthy nonstick cookware.
You may wonder if it really matters what you cook with. It’s not like you eat your pots and pans, right? Wrong.
The truth is that as you heat your pots and pans, little bits of metal — like aluminum if you’re using an aluminum pan, for instance — find their way into your food. You don’t want little metal flakes in your food, do you? Of course not.
So, what should you be cooking with?
The Wrong Cookware
Now, you probably actually have a collection of healthy cookware in your kitchen. But if you’re a fan of nonstick cookware… beware.
It’s true that nonstick cooking surfaces help make cooking dishes like eggs easy. Nonstick cookware also lets you saute vegetables without much mess. But nonstick pans usually use a chemical coating known as polytetrafluoroethylene (or PTFE) — and that’s no good.
While PTFE is durable, waxy, and inflammable, this synthetic resin is made when you polymerize tetrafluoroethylene.1
PTFE is characterized by a non-grip surface, a pretty high melting point, and the ability to resist damage by a whole host of chemicals.2
That’s a powerful coating. The problem is that PTFE happens to be an endocrine disruptor. In fact, it’s been linked to —
- Compromised weight health
- Insulin concerns
- Issues with female and male reproduction
- Prostate health concerns
- Thyroid health issues
- Compromised neurodevelopment3
If a healthy lifestyle begins with what you put in your body, why wouldn’t that include material that is released from your cookware into your food?
More About The Wrong Nonstick Cookware
Nonstick cookware is pretty popular because it is relatively easy to clean. Furthermore, nonstick cookware marketers tout its even heat distribution.
Those who advertise nonstick cookware or nonstick coating for cookware will say its benefits include fewer pieces of food sticking to your cooking surface. They’ll even talk about how healthy it can be because you can cook with less oil and butter.
But cooking oil is NOT the enemy — especially if you’re cooking with the following oils:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Perilla oil. Read about perilla oil benefits.
- Extra virgin avocado oil
- Walnut oil
- MCT oil
Instead of worrying about the oils you’re cooking with, it might be time to think about the dangerous chemicals, heavy metals, and toxins in your pots and pans.
Now, nonstick cookware initially garnered attention when the chemical PFOA – perfluorooctanoic acid — was used to create a convenient nonstick coating. And though PFOA was banned in 2013, PTFE is still used regularly.4 Plus you’ll want to check what kind of coating is on your older pots and pans.
Cooking With A Cast Iron Skillet
Now, you might think cast iron is a great substitute for nonstick cookware. It wasn’t so long ago that cast iron cookware was all the rage. But again, certain types of metal utensils might release inorganic materials during food preparation.
And whenever you cook with cast iron, you could be leaching iron into your system. One study in particular mentions that iron pans release increasing amounts of iron when used to cook acidic foods like tomato sauce.5
Especially if your doctor has mentioned high iron levels, you’ll definitely want to throw your cast iron cookware out.
What About Cooking With Copper Utensils?
Copper cookware should be avoided as well. In a recent scientific report, copper was said to lead to liver health issues.6 Copper has become quite trendy. Copper is beautiful to look at and so many people are stocking their kitchens with copper cookware.
It’s best to avoid cooking with copper. Focus on using stainless steel (sometimes called carbon steel), stoneware, or ceramic utensils instead of using copper.
Safe And Convenient Cooking Tips (Use Ceramic or Stainless Steel Pots and Pans)
If you’d like to ensure safer cooking, check out these tips.
- Choose wooden utensils to reduce scratching and metal flakes.
- Open your kitchen window and use an exhaust fan.
- Use ceramic, stoneware, and stainless steel cooking utensils.
- Try adding a little water to your pots and pans before preheating. Avoid broiling. Overheated pots can potentially leak more metal.
- Wash your pots and pans gently. Use light soap and soft sponge. Stay away from steel wool or rough sponges.
Stock Your Kitchen With The Right Cooking Utensils and Cookware
If you happen to be worried about chemicals finding their way into your food, focus on these nonstick cookware alternatives:
- Stainless steel is great for cooking. Stainless steel happens to be one of the least dangerous types of cookware out there.
- Try using stoneware or ceramic cookware.
- Look for a ceramic coating when shopping for nonstick cookware.
- And if you use a microwave, opt for glassware instead of using any kind of plastic.
You’ve probably heard cooks and chefs mention how much they love cooking with stoneware. When seasoned properly, stoneware can become virtually (and naturally) nonstick.
Stoneware and ceramic cookware can withstand extremely high heat. Stainless steel pots with glass lids are wonderful if you’re using your stovetop to steam vegetables. Not only are stainless steel pots safer than other types of cookware, but stainless steel is also a handsome material. And stainless steel is great because you can cook with very high heat.
Ceramic cookware sets are pretty new to the market, but they’re out there. However, ceramic coating will scratch. So consider this a gentle reminder to cook using wooden utensils. You’ll avoid scratching your cookware this way.
How To Care Properly For Pots and Pans
You want to keep your pots and pans safe for everyday cooking. The best way to keep your pots and pans safe for cooking is to care for them properly.
One good way to keep your pots and pans in condition is to wash them by hand. Gentle soap will do. No need to purchase a scrubbing agent. Soaking your pots and pans can go a long way to remove debris or leftover food.
Wooden and silicone cooking utensils are your best bet. And whatever you do, stay away from nonstick cooking spray. Cooking oils or real fats will help lubricate your pots and pans — and flavor your favorite dishes.
Finally, if you notice wear and tear replace your cookware as soon as possible.
Is All Nonstick Cookware Unsafe?
Today you can find some nonstick cooking sets that are safe for normal home cooking. But you need to make sure to limit your temperatures to 570°F and under. Do not cook with super high temperatures. And if you notice a scratch or chip in the coating, ditch that pan right away.
It is up to you to keep your kitchen safe. Do your due diligence if you happen to be shopping for new cookware. Make sure your cookware contains absolutely no perfluorooctanoic acid PFOA or polytetrafluoroethylene PTFE (if you can help it).
Talk with your doctor about your iron levels before cooking with a cast-iron skillet. Again, ceramic coating, stainless steel, and stoneware are fine.
Cooking should be fun and easy. And if you follow the tips above it will be healthy too.