A Yoga Trainer, Therapist and Research Scholar, delving deep into the world of ancient knowledge.
The only place in the house that has reaped the benefits of the technological innovations, is the kitchen. The last century saw the advent of many electronic home appliances like refrigerators, mixer, grinders, microwaves ovens, cooking range and electric chimneys.Today people have variety of cooking mediums like microwaves ovens, induction plates, gas stoves, barbeque method and so on.Various types of cookwares are available in the market to suit different cooking modes. Kitchen utensils are made of different materials like metals, plastics, silicon, glass, ceramic and clay. However, people unknowingly consume many harmful chemicals leaching out of their cookwares. These substances are harmful to the health as they may cause many major and minor diseases.
Here is the list of the worst cooking utensils that should be discarded from the kitchen with immediate effect.
1 Aluminium Cookware
Normally aluminium cookware are oxidized to prevent its leaching into the food. With everyday use the outer coating is scrubbed off exposing the inner aluminium layer. Besides leaching, aluminium reacts with the acidic foods and vegetables like tomatoes, lemon juice and vinegar. Due to this leaching of aluminium particles, the immune system gets affected. In children, prolonged use of aluminium causes slow learning and speech problems. Even in adults, it weakens the muscles and bones and may cause seizures.
These days it is very convenient to wrap food in the aluminium foil. The heat of food activates the leaching process. Instead of this, wax paper should be used for wrapping the food items.
2. Pressure Cooker
This is very popular in India as it saves fuel and cooking time, and almost every kitchen has a pressure cooker. It is made of aluminium or steel. The aluminium one is cheaper and more popular. Steel pressure cooker is less efficient because steel is less efficient in the heat conduction as compared to aluminium. Besides it is costlier than aluminium.
The food cook in the pressure cooker is not at all healthy as all the micronutrients get destroyed. The food molecules get damaged by high heat and pressure. Instead of cooking, it just softens and degenerates the food item. The arhar dal (lentil) cooked in the pressure cooker has only 13% of the nutrients when compared to dal cooked in clay vessels which preserves 100% of micronutrients of the dal cooked in it.
Both Steel and Aluminium pressure cooker should be thrown out if we want to eat healthy foods.
3. Teflon coated cookware.
The non-stick cookware has the coating of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or Teflon. Due to the cost effective and easy maintenance, it is very popular. Their non-stick property helps less consumption of oil in cooking.
It is disturbing to know that it causes Teflon flu. the chemical coating breaks down at temperatures above 350° C and its properties start degrading above 250° C. The temperature needed to cook meat is more than 200° C. The smoke point of a few edible oils is high. If these are cooked in Teflon cookware then fumes start coming out at the high temperatures. The person cooking consumes poisonous polymer fumes which makes them sick.
Such teflon coated cookware should be discarded after 5 years of use. If the surface of teflon utensil is flaking out, then it should be discarded immediately as micro particles of teflon will end up in the body via food.
One should opt for ceramic coated cookware as there are better than Teflon.
4. Copper and brass cookware
Copper and brass utensils are good for health if they are used as plates, glass, or cutlery. But when food is cooked in these metals react with the acidic food. Curd, milk, fruit juices, wine and citrus items should not be put into copper and brass vessels. The iodine of salt reacts with these metal vessels.
Copper pots should be used for storing water as it has health benefits. Milk, curd, juices, vinegar and wine should not consumed in these metal utensils.
Plastic cookwares are used for microwave cooking. Food items, both edible and raw food grains, are packed in the plastic wrappers. Then it is cooked in plastic vessels and consumed on the plastic plates.
Plastic contains bisphenol-A (BPA) and chemicals like phthalate, which gets leaked in the food. Storing food in plastic containers can also contaminate food items. Hot and steaming food items should not be put in plastic containers. Many countries have banned BPA but manufacturers use Bisphenol-S for the production of plastic kitchenware.
Look at the bottom of the plastic items for these marks - #2, #4 and #5 before buying any plastic item. This number indicates that such plastic are safe for food and drinks. Plastic item bearing the numbers #3, #6 and #7 are high risk plastics.
Prolonged use of plastic items disrupts the functioning of oestrogen hormones besides causing many other diseases. Study on humans show that people having high level of BPA in their urine had a higher rate of diabetes heart diseases and even toxicity.
These five cookwares are harmful for human body. The health conscious people are now replacing their metallic utensils with clay cookware. Pans, pots and pressure cooker made out of clay are healthy options as they are safe with no side effects, along with cast iron utensils which compensate the iron deficiency. Glass vessels should be used for baking and microwave cooking instead of plastics. Silicon moulds and vessels are also gaining popularity in baking and refrigeration. One can stay healthy with just making a few changes in their kitchens. Just make these little changes in your kitchen cookwares and be healthy.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Nidhi Gautam
Ishita on November 24, 2020:
Didn't know a lot of these. Thanks for writing and bringing awareness
Punam Sinha Shreyasi on November 23, 2020: