The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Cookware
We spend a lot of time considering what we eat. There’s no doubt that cooking our own meals gives us ultimate control over the healthfulness of the ingredients in our food, but what about the impact of cookware on the safety of what we eat?
No matter how much thought we put into selecting our produce and other ingredients, using the wrong cookware or even using good cookware improperly can have devastating effects on our best efforts.
Selecting healthy cookware and using it properly requires educating yourself about all the products available to you. This can be a daunting task considering the boggling variety of cookware on the market.
Rapidly developing technology has resulted in an array of novel cookware options in the last century. Some have become mainstays in today’s kitchens, whereas others have proven hazardous only after tragic long term effects on people’s health and the environment have been documented.
With so much conflicting information available, it can be difficult to distinguish scientific fact from questionable marketing. While many companies make wonderful, quality cookware, there is little incentive for any cookware manufacturer to be upfront about potential dangers of new cooking technologies they stand to profit from.
Our cookware choices impact more than just the outcome of our favorite recipes. Poor choices can be detrimental to our own health, the wellbeing of pets and loved ones, and the environment. At TKJ, we don’t just want cooking to be tasty: we want it to be healthful and sustainable.
This doesn’t just mean opting for organic or counting calories–we like decadent dishes, too! It means purchasing and properly using safe cooking vessels.
We believe there is a safe and affordable option for everyone, regardless of your price point.
This guide provides a comprehensive look at cookware options from a health-conscious perspective. Whether you’re ready to make your next cookware purchase or need to know if what you own is safe for a particular use, our Ultimate Guide to Healthy Cookware is sure to contain the information you need.
Stainless steel cookware
Stainless steel is a must-have in the kitchen when it comes to boiling, sautéing and baking. It is the choice of professional chefs around the globe, and moreover, it is a 100 percent non-toxic metal. Stainless steel retains heat, which results in fast, even cooking and baking.
Stainless steel can withstand high heats, which make it perfect for browning and crisping, as opposed to many nonstick pans, which are unsafe when exposed to high heats. As long as stainless steel pots and pans do not have plastic handles, they can go from stovetop to oven for keeping dishes warm or even browning the top of a dish with the broiler.
It is important to keep in mind that stainless steel pots and pans have absolutely no nonstick element. The right amount of oil, butter or lard has to be used to keep food from sticking to the pan. This poses a few health concerns.
While stainless steel pots and pans can withstand high heats, not all oils can. Overheating or burning oil in a stainless steel vessel won’t damage your cookware, but it can be harmful to your health. Business 2 Community’s Health & Wellness article “The Danger of Cooking with Healthy Oils Past their Smoke Point” provides pertinent information about this health risk. Choosing the right oil for your stainless steel cookware, and any cookware, for that matter, is imperative to your health.
Another health consideration with stainless steel is cleanliness. While scrubbing pans down with steel wool can keep layers of oil from accumulating on the surface, it is easy to burn food and oil onto stainless steel vessels. If food particles and oil layers are not diligently removed, bacteria can colonize on your cookware.
Finally, some more budget conscious lines of stainless steel cookware are made of lower grade material that is more porous. For the most part, the higher the price point and quality of stainless steel cookware, the denser the stainless steel it is made with. Denser stainless steel means fewer places for oil and food particles to be trapped and burn. Denser stainless steel is easier to clean and maintain.
All Clad makes an extensive collection of high quality stainless steel pots and pans, including roasters, griddles and even a lasagna pan. Fox Run sells a range of stainless steel bakeware at affordable prices, such as muffin tins and baking sheets.
Overall, when used correctly and with the right oil for the dish, stainless steel is a safe cookware option. It can come with high price tags, but if well cared for, a stainless steel vessel can accommodate healthy cooking for years to come.
Another point that you should consider is that stainless steel cookware is good an any type of cooktop such as gas cooktops, electric cooktops, glass and induction cooktops. Because it can be heated to high temperatures with no damage it makes it a great all rounder.
Stainless steel cookware video library
How to cook using your stainles steel pans
Stainless steel cookware Youtube channel
The heath risks associated with aluminum cookware
Aluminum is a popular cookware choice because of its light weight, affordability and aesthetic. Aluminum cookware looks like stainless steel, but is lighter and usually far less expensive.
However, unlike stainless steel, aluminum can be leached into food and can have adverse effects on human health when consumed in high doses.
As Maggie New points out in her LiveStrong article “Poisons from Aluminum Cookware,” humans are exposed to aluminum from a variety of sources, from produce to antacids. Most healthy individuals excrete aluminum without experiencing side effects, however, studies on Alzheimer’s patients show increased levels of aluminum in the brain. Aluminum is acknowledged in the US as a toxic substance that can be detrimental to the nervous, immune and genetic systems.
While aluminum cookware has not been banned by the FDA, aluminum is known to leach into food, particularly food that is either very acidic or very basic. This means choosing to cook a dish containing tomato sauce, for example, in an aluminum pot, pan, or baking dish increases the amount of aluminum you and your family will consume in the dish.
This is because aluminum is a reactive metal and acidic and basic foods are corrosive. The Kitchn’s Food Science article “Explaining Reactive and Non-Reactive Cookware” delves further into the phenomena and ultimately advises against using aluminum cookware with any dishes containing tomatoes, lemon juice, etc.
So you might be asking yourself, why consider aluminum cookware at all?
In addition to being lightweight and affordable, aluminum heats incredibly evenly. And, with advances in cookware science, a process called anodization is making aluminum cookware a safer, more attractive option than it once was.
Anodized vs non-anodized aluminum
Anodization is a process by which a metal is exposed to chemical baths, then an electrical current which oxidizes the exposed surface. Oxidized, or anodized, aluminum is stronger, more scratch resistant, and resists leaching of aluminum into food.
In a Q & A, Andrew Weil, M.D., advises against use of plain aluminum pots and pans, but suggests that anodized aluminum cookware without scratches is a safer alternative, along with stainless steel or ceramic coated aluminum.
Calphalon, one of the top manufacturers of nonstick cookware, offers a wide variety of anodized aluminum options, from omelette pans to an oven safe roaster with rack. The price is comparable to that of stainless steel, they are dishwasher safe, and unlike stainless steel, anodization results in a nonstick coating.
All in all, while plain aluminum pots and pans are more affordable than a lot of other options on the market, they are not the best choice from a health perspective. If you do own aluminum cookware, you may want to consider upgrading, or at least avoid cooking acidic or basic foods in your aluminum pots and pans.
And don’t be scared off from aluminum completely; if you’re looking for a durable, nonstick option, anodized aluminum might be right for you.
Additional reading for aluminum cookware
- Ceramic cookware dangers
Aluminum cookware video library
How it’s made: aluminum pots and pans
Aluminum cookware dangers video playlist
Cast iron cookware is an option that has withstood the test of time. If well cared for, cast iron cookware can last not just a lifetime, but generations. And, when seasoned properly, cast iron is a naturally nonstick option.
Still, there is some controversy surrounding the healthfulness of cast iron cookware. While human bodies benefit from small doses of iron, iron that is not digestible can be leached off into food cooked in cast iron pans.
Those leery of cast iron cookware warn that iron overload can result in the adverse effects and symptoms The Healthy Home Economist outlines here. Licensed dietician Monica Reinagel touches on aspects of cooking with cast iron from a health perspective in Quick and Dirty Tips’ article “Is it Safe to Cook in Cast Iron?”
Ultimately, Reinagel concludes that safe cooking in cast iron entails attentiveness to the food being cooked and development of a proper patina. When it comes to cast iron, the patina is the thin layer of lard or oil that remains on the interior of the pot or pan after proper seasoning is achieved. Two Kitchen Junkies outlines seasoning techniques here in our article how to season a dutch oven .
Like aluminum, cast iron is a reactive metal. Acidic and basic foods should not be cooked in regular cast iron cookware because the iron can react with and leach into the food. Moreover, acidic and basic foods can break down a hard-earned, nonstick patina that you’ll wish you had back to prevent iron leaching and for cooking other dishes.
On top of the leaching issue, cooking in cast iron does require use of lard, butter or oil in order to develop and maintain the cookware’s patina. Maintenance of the patina involves ensuring there is not too much or too little buildup on the pan. Excess lard or oil on cast iron cookware can spoil and result in exposure to bacteria. Too little patina can result in the cast iron itself being exposed to water or water vapor, resulting in rust spots.
Spoiled oil or rust spots in your cast iron aren’t endgame for your favorite pot or pan, but they will demand proper deep cleaning which in turn necessitates starting back at square one developing your patina.
So, while some people are extremely comfortable and even relish cooking in regular cast iron, it is not for those who want or need to
- avoid unintended iron in their diets,
- significantly limit their use of butter, oil or lard in their cooking or
- cook acidic foods like tomatoes, tomato sauces or acidic or basic dishes
However, even if you determine regular cast iron isn’t for you, all the benefits of cast iron cooking are still in reach. Thanks to wonderful enamel coated cast iron pieces from companies like Lodge, VonShef, and famously, Le Creuset, anyone can use cast iron without worrying about its impact on the healthfulness of their cooking.
Enamel coated cast iron and its benefits to you
Many consider enamel coated cast iron an upgrade from regular cast iron cookware. It comes in a range of beautiful colors, is equally durable as regular cast iron, and does not require seasoning.
The enamel layer serves as a nonstick surface and a barrier between the cast iron and your food. This prevents iron leaching and mitigates rust. And, while the enamel coating should be cared for by preventing scratches and impact, unlike other nonstick surfaces, it can be extremely long lasting.
Whether you choose regular cast iron or enamel coated, a cast iron pan and Dutch Oven are wonderful pieces of cookware to have on hand in the kitchen for years to come.
Additional reading for cast iron cookware
- Reconsider Cast Iron Pan Safety with Learningandyearning.com
- What are the Dangers of Cast Iron in Food? from Livestrong
- Cooking with Cast Iron from Dr. Weil’s Q & A Library
- 11 Benefits And Disadvantages Of Cooking With Cast Iron Cookware from HuffPost Living
- Ten Reasons to Try Cast Iron Cooking from NaturalNews
- Columbia University’s Go Ask Alice Response to Question about Cooking in Cast Iron
- USDA Podcast on Cast Iron Cooking
- California Department of Public Health’s PSA on Iron(PDF)
Cast iron cookware video library
Cleaning and seasoning your cast iron skillet – Martha Stewart
How to properly clean & re-season cast iron after cooking
At least one piece of nonstick cookware is essential in every home kitchen. While it’s not regarded as an industry standard like stainless steel, even professional chefs recognize that there is a place for nonstick cookware–particularly if you cook delicate dishes. For flaky fish, crepes, omelettes and so forth, nothing beats a nonstick pan when it comes to your cookware choice.
For more details on when and why to use a nonstick pan, check out TKJ’s article “Stainless Steel vs Nonstick” .
Of course, when considered from a health aspect, nonstick cookware is shrouded in controversy. Name brands like Teflon and terms like PFOA and PTFE have ignited many passionate debates amongst cooks trying to be conscientious about their own health and the wellbeing of their family members, pets and the environment. TKJ has a look at the debates and the evidence here.
Teflon and PTFE
TKJ’s article “PFOA Free Cookware” is an excellent resource for those interested in the nonstick cookware controversy and the Teflon debate. In short, Teflon is a brand name for the synthetic polymer PTFE: polytetrafluoroethylene. It was not initially manufactured for culinary use, but became popular and has been FDA approved for use on cookware since the 1960s.
When people talk about Teflon being problematic or carcinogenic, they’re actually equivocating between a brand name of PTFE and another substance: PFOA (more on that to follow).
Today, Teflon products are sold under the brand name T-fal in the US, and not all of them feature PTFE nonstick coatings. And, other manufacturers also use PTFE nonstick coatings on their cookware. Cooking with a piece made by Teflon or T-fal does not necessarily mean you’re using PTFE. Likewise, choosing a nonstick pan made by a different manufacturer does not mean you’re avoiding PTFE.
While PTFE coatings can be scratched and flake off into food, the American Cancer Society acknowledges that Teflon/PTFE is not a carcinogen. There is no scientific evidence backing claims that PTFE itself causes cancer or illness when cooked with or even ingested.
PTFE cookware has excellent nonstick properties and is relatively inexpensive. So, if you’re comfortable using it, there are two important things to keep in mind.
First: the necessity of nonstick utensils
Scratching a pan that’s coated with PTFE will make it harder to clean and could result in flakes in your food. While not harmful, they aren’t very appetizing, and the more the PTFE coating flakes off, the sooner your nonstick pan is just a pan, with the nonstick coating damaged beyond repair. Scratches in the bottom of the pan are also a place for food to burn on or escape your best cleaning attempts. This can be uncleanly and irritating.
When it comes to nonstick friendly utensils, TKJ recommends Rachael Ray’s Lazy Tools and StarPack’s Premium Silicone Kitchen Utensils
Secondly, be aware that traditional nonstick pans, i.e. those with PTFE coatings, cannot be used for cooking at high heats. See the “F” in PTFE? It contains fluorine, a chemical that can burn off if overheated.
As outlined in our “PFOA Free Cooking” article:
Fluorine exposure can be dangerous to humans and pets–especially birds, who have more sensitive respiratory systems. While the possibility of significant exposure is rare, drastic overheating of nonstick cookware can result in a condition called polymer-fume fever. Symptoms include headache, fever and chills. Pet birds may even die from overexposure.
Prevention involves never heating PTFE cookware over 500 degrees. This means you’ll need to choose a different cooking vessel, like cast iron or stainless steel for searing steaks or anything else that requires a high heat. It’s also important to remember that nonstick pans should not be preheated–with or without oil.
Ultimately, whether you choose to use or avoid cookware that features PTFE nonstick coatings will be driven by your price point, your requirements for a nonstick pan, and your assessment of the risks associated with PTFE cookware’s manufacturing. This brings us to the real culprit of cooks’ nonstick fears: PFOA.
While PTFE is not recognized as a threat to human health, PFOA, perfluorooctanoic acid, is. PFOA is a moisture repellant synthetic used in the manufacturing of some PTFE cookware.
In animal studies, PFOA posed health hazards including mutations to the brain, prostate, liver and kidneys indicative of toxicity. Animals exposed to PFOA have also experienced changes in their pituitary glands, which have an impact on growth, reproduction, and many metabolic functions. These changes also indicate toxicity.
PFOA exposure has been associated with the growth of cancerous tumors in animal tests, and, perhaps even more alarming, increased rates of prostate cancer have been documented in male workers at factories that produce and use PFOA.
Manufacturers of cookware produced with PFOA claim it is all burned off in the process of bonding PTFE to the base metal of the cookware, leaving none of the harmful substance behind. In the US, the Federal Government and Cancer Society agree.
However, there is still a compelling impetus for avoiding cookware produced with PFOA. It can hurt others and the environment.
In Washington, West Virginia, where one of the country’s major PFOA plants is located, scientists have found increased levels of PFOA in drinking water and residents’ bodies.
Scientists are investigating whether PFOA is to blame for increased instances of diseases including testicular cancer, colitis, thyroid problems, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure during pregnancies in the local population–not to mention the impact on the area’s ecosystem.
Other voices in safe cooking and healthy living provide useful resources on the topic as well. Environmental Working Group takes a stance on Teflon here. The Health Wyze Report reviews the dangers of nonstick cookware here. Mother Nature Network published an article in 2010 that specifically explores the relationship between PFOA and thyroid disease.
With all this cautionary information at our fingertips, it’s easy to see why PFOA, PTFE, Teflon and “nonstick” cookware have gotten a bad rap. But, not all nonstick comes with the dangers and tough decisions of the original option.
Ceramic nonstick cookware
Several businesses have developed new technologies to provide the convenience of nonstick to cook and bakeware without potentially toxic coatings. One company, Green Pan, uses a patented technology called Thermolon to make their pans nonstick and heat resistant up to high temperatures. Orgreenic makes similar products that have aluminum bases and special coatings made of a combination of ceramic and a newly-developed nonstick material that is more eco-friendly.
T-fal, the original Teflon pan manufacturer even makes a line of ceramic cookware.
Other options that can be used in lieu of nonstick cookware include anodized aluminum, as mentioned above, and silicone bake-ware, and even well seasoned or enameled cast iron.
Additional reading for nonstick cookware
- Cooking Channel’s Confessions of a Culinary Student: Nonstick Pans
- Good Housekeeping’s Article Nervous About Nonstick?
- Chemours’ Key Safety Questions About Teflon™ Nonstick Coatings
- American Cancer Society’s PFOA Article
- Straight Up Food’s Article Are Nonstick Pans Safe?
- Toxic Chemicals Currently Slipping Off Nonstick Cookware from Healthychild.org
- Nonstick Cookware and Teflon Dangers from Rodale’s Organic Life
- Minnesota Department of Health’s Overview of Perfluorochemicals and Health
- Nonstick cookware
- Is Ceramic cookware safe?
Nonstick cookware video library
How It’s Made – Non-Stick Cookware
Are your non-stick pans safe? Gorgeously Green’s Tips Tuesday video shows you how to go non-toxic
In addition to the popular cookware types already addressed in this article, TKJ is a fan of alternatives including stoneware, glass and ceramic cookware. While these types of cookware have waxed and waned in popularity, they are extremely safe and long lasting options if properly cared for.
Stone and ceramic has been used to create cooking vessels since ancient times. Some of the most iconic cookware in the US, CorningWare, has been gracing stovetops, ovens and tables since 1959. Original patterns including the Cornflower design can still be found in antique and thrift stores, and are safe for cooking in as long as the pieces you select are free of cracks and chips.
In fact, along with regular stoneware, Wellness Mama identifies glass and specifically CorningWare as wonderful cookware options that do not leach toxins into food. If you’re not a fan of antiquing or just want something new, you can purchase CorningWare with an updated, modernized look from their most recent product collection.
Anchor Hocking and Pyrex also make excellent, safe cookware and bakeware.
The materials used to create stoneware, glass and ceramic cookware are natural and toxin free. The only real disadvantage or safety concern with these pieces is that they can break if dropped and the can be chipped. DIY Natural also urges consumers to choose enameled cookware from a reputable companies to make sure the coating is nontoxic and durable.
While not ideal for children, the right pieces of stone, glass and/or ceramic cookware will add a pop to your kitchen and result in great tasting, healthful food.
Stoneware, glass and ceramic cookware video library
How its made: glass cookware
Healthy cookware: The healthiest cookware for kids
If you have children and cook for them, all your cookware choices stand to affect them. But if your kids are joining you in the kitchen, what are the healthiest cookware choices for little chefs?
Recently, a lot of cookware marketing has been aimed at including children in cooking activities. Cute, toy like silicone products that are nonbreakable have become popular recently, along with a variety of other brightly colored durable pots, pans and bakeware.
Healthy Child makes many of the same recommendations as TKJ in their article “Be Cautious With Cookware.” Still, understanding which kid-friendly cookware is really healthy and safe can be a challenge.
Wellness Mama and Dr. Andrew Weil come to the same conclusion about silicone: it’s great in the kitchen, but not necessarily in the oven. This means silicone measuring cups, potholders, handle holders, cookie cutters and so on can be safe and fun items for kids in the kitchen, but that it has not been proven safe when exposed to high heats.
Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship does an excellent job outlining concerns about silicone cookware use here. Ultimately, silicone is a fun option for kids, but only when used safely.
As Wellness Mama points out, items like silicone cupcake molds can be used for things that need to be cooled rather than cooked. And Dr. Andrew Weil suggests that stainless steel, which won’t get damaged if dropped by young kids, is known to be a safer option for baking than silicone. Instead of silicone cupcake molds, try fun or elegant paper liners.
Ultimately, when selecting cookware for use by children, make sure that it is nontoxic and not too heavy or fragile. Stainless steel, anodized aluminum, and ceramic nonstick are excellent options. SilverStone cookware, available through Amazon, comes in especially health conscious and kid friendly designs.
Whatever children are cooking with, a responsible and attentive adult should be at the top of the list!
Video library for healthiest cookware for kids
Silicone health news reports by Ice Sphere Tech
In addition to determining what type of cookware is safest and healthiest for yourself and your family, it is important to be mindful of the utensils you’re using on a regular basis.
The US National Library of Medicine has an excellent online encyclopedia article about cooking utensils and nutrition. It corroborates a lot of TKJ’s advice, and also brings up valid points regarding utensils, cutting boards, cleaning brushes and sponges.
While some of the cookware options we’ve outlined have purportedly nonscratch surfaces, the NIH–National Institutes of Health–recommends avoiding any utensils that may scratch your cookware. Choose wood, bamboo or silicone instead.
Of course, silicone utensils, like silicone cookware, are controversial and advised against by some chefs, medical professionals and environmentally concerned citizens. If you choose silicone utensils, avoiding exposure to high heats is the number one way to ensure their safe use. They might be good for whisking and mixing before cooking, but aren’t necessarily safe in a hot pan.
And, as Groovy Green Livin points out in their article Go-to Guide for Eco Friendly Cooking Tools, while wood and bamboo aren’t toxic, they also aren’t always the most sanitary options. Bacteria and other germs from food can be harbored in wood grain, making wooden utensils and cutting boards difficult to clean thoroughly.
Wooden/bamboo (not actually wood, but a type of grass) utensils are kind to pots and pans, so if you decide to use them, it’s important to select something made of a dense, quality material. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s Serious Eats article on how to choose a wooden spoon is a useful, entertaining read. He settles on a bamboo spoon, but olive wood spoons are another good choice since olive wood is dense, won’t crack and is easier to clean than cheaper wood utensils.
When it comes to cutting boards, the NIH advises against wood. Plastic, marble, glass and ceramic cutting boards are far easier to clean. This article by University of California’s Berkeley Wellness Collaboration delves further into the cutting board debate. The Wellness Collaboration suggests choosing bamboo over wood cutting boards, and using a bleach solution to disinfect cutting boards–regardless of the material.
Both the NIH and Wellness Collaboration reinforce the importance of discarding chipped, cracked or damaged cutting boards, and using a multiple cutting board approach that reserves some cutting boards for proteins that need to be cooked and others for breads, fruits and veggies that do not require cooking. Dr. Weil’s Q & A Library entry on cutting boards provides additional tips on selecting, using and cleaning cutting boards safely.
Finally, when it comes to safely cleaning your cookware, it is important to avoid scratching and to clean with a sanitary implement. Norpro’s Pot Scrapers are an excellent cleaning tool for all kinds of cookware. Sanitizing or replacing sponges frequently will cut down on exposure of your cookware to bacteria yeast and mold. Also, be sure to dry your cookware thoroughly before stacking and storing it.
Having considered an array of cookware options from a health perspective, we turn to a more detailed list of illnesses that can result from poor cookware choices.
In his NaturalNews article “Is Your Cookware Killing You?” Cancer Nutrition Specialist Craig Stellpflung provides a fairly comprehensive list of issues with traditional cookware options from a nutrition perspective. The concerns he addresses focus primarily on the leaching of heavy metal into food.
Ultimately, Stellpflung concludes titanium cookware is the safest because it doesn’t react with food and presents no risk of leaching. Titanium cookware can be quite expensive, but it does come in a variety of options, including camp-ready cookware, like this set from HealthPro. Ceramic coated titanium is another option. GreenPan manufactures ceramic coated titanium that is part of Trisha Yearwood’s Precious Metals cookware collection.
Stellpflung, like TJK, also encourages cooks to be mindful of the temperatures they’re using to cook, as not all cookware can withstand high heats safely.
Specific illnesses known to result from poor cookware choices include the following:
- Polymer-fume fever: a rare condition resulting from exposure to overheated nonstick cookware. When pans are heated over 500 degrees, the coating’s fluorine component burns off and can cause symptoms include headache, fever and chills in pets and people exposed to the fumes. Due to their more delicate respiratory systems, pet birds can die from exposure to fluorine fumes
- Iron toxicity: a condition caused by a buildup of iron in the body. While most people’s bodies can excrete iron safely, those with hemochromatosis and young children may not be able to. Iron toxicity can lead to symptoms including nausea diarrhea and hemorrhaging. However, as the NIH reports, iron toxicity is typically caused by ingestion of an immense amount of iron, not exposure from cookware. The MedlinePlus article on Iron Toxicity is an excellent resource.
Myth vs fact
With so many resources available online, some no doubt propagate misinformation. Multiple US websites purport that aluminum cookware has been banned in other countries like Germany, France and Brazil. This is not true. Others seemingly choose scare tactics to sway readers toward purchasing one type of cookware over another.
While there’s no need to dismiss alternative points of view on cookware, choosing to educate yourself with reputable content is key. MedlinePlus, referenced throughout this article, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC are great resources.
Consider your diners
Of course, it is important to keep the status of your own health and those you cook for in mind when selecting cooking vessels.
Copper and iron/cast iron cookware, for example, may be safe for the general population, but those with Wilson’s Disease or hepatitis C may need to avoid copper and iron cookware, respectively. The Wilson’s Disease Association provides information about avoiding copper here, and the VA provides a resource on diet and nutrition for hep C patients here.
As mentioned above, those with hemochromatosis also need to avoid iron/cast iron cookware.
Take Practical Precautions
The CDC recommends avoiding cookware and tableware that is not shown to be lead free to prevent lead poisoning. For the most part, this means not purchasing cookware from overseas.
Finally, knowing your approach to cooking and your lifestyle will help you select cookware that is healthy for you and your family specifically. While some options are superior to others, there is no right cookware for everyone. If you need to avoid cooking with fats or oils, select the best nonstick you can afford. If you have a condition that prevents you from using copper or iron, be mindful of your selections. And, if you’re on the go, steer clear of cast iron and stainless steel, which demand a lot of TLC when it comes to cleaning and seasoning.
You can also check out TKJ’s other articles, The Ultimate Guide’s Video Library and our Additional Links for tips and tricks on selecting and caring for healthy cookware.
Additional reading for healthy cookware
- New York Times Health Guides: Cooking Utensils and Nutrition
- Nontoxic, Eco-Friendly Cookware That’s Safe for You and Your Family
- Healthy Types of Metal for Cookware from Livestrong
- Which is the Safest Cookware? from Dr. Frank Lipman
- Aluminum or Stainless Steel Cookware for Your Restaurant?
- Tips for Nonstick, Cast Iron and Stainless Steel Cookware from the Food Network
- Shopping for the Safest Cookware from the Food Network’s Healthy Eats
- Referenced throughout this Article: MedlinePlus
- The Centers for Disease Control Website
- Cooking with cast iron Youtube channel