The bright, shiny pots and pans pop up on wedding registries, Christmas wish lists and eventually become the main source of cookware in many kitchen cabinets. While stainless steel has become a widely accepted tool for cooking and preparing foods, health experts believe toxic metals could be getting into your food.
No matter how healthy you might try to be in cooking home meals — if you buy organic produce, avoid harmful chemicals to clean your food, and cut fat, salt and preservatives — there could still be harmful metal residues being absorbed by your body when using stainless steel cookware.
Is Stainless Steel Cookware Safe?
Stainless steel cookware has some benefits. It is durable, easy to clean and often is sleek and appealing to the eye. But under the shiny gloss are a slew of metals that can make what seems like a safe piece of cookware a digestive danger.
There are a lot of metals that go into creating stainless steel cookware, leading to the question: Is stainless steel cookware safe? Most of the metals are from iron and chromium, but there are percentages of other metals used to make stainless steel cookware, too. Some of those are nickel, copper and titanium.
Stainless Steel Cookware Health Risks
Metals in cookware can pose a health concern. In some cases, these metals can be absorbed by the healthy foods you’re cooking. What you thought was a healthy, nutritious meal can actually carry bits of metals you’d rather not eat. We’ll take a look at each metal and its pros and cons to see how it can impact overall health.
While iron is a necessary mineral for our survival, not the iron that you receive from metal cookware, too much of a good thing can lead to health problems. This mineral is the only one we cannot naturally expel for our bodies if we absorb too much of it. That’s why some people have to avoid iron in supplements and multivitamins.
Cast Iron Cookware – The Myth
The truth is that iron comes in a ferrous and a ferric form. Our bodies cannot assimilate the iron (ferric) from cast iron cookware. This means that iron from cast iron cookware is not bioavailable and it has no value to our bodies at the cellular level. In fact, it can be very harmful to people who are allergic to heavy metals and it can lead to auto immune problems. Bioavailability – The degree and rate at which a substance is absorbed into a living system or is made available at the site of physiological activity
People who consume too much iron, which can be absorbed by the foods prepared in cookware containing this mineral, can experience:
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained weight loss
In severe cases, some people experience graying skin, blood sugar instability and irregular heartbeats.
A natural mineral found in potatoes, cheese and molasses, chromium has several health benefits. It can move glucose through the blood to help manage diabetes. It can even help with digestion and boost metabolism.
But too much chromium, which combined with natural foods, supplements and the amounts that rub off in stainless steel cookware, can lead to major digestive problems and low blood sugar. In severe cases, it has caused damage to the kidneys and nervous system.
Nickel is usually not harmful in small amounts, but it can be harmful to people who are allergic to it or consume too much. It’s often found in jewelry and magnets, and is used to give a shine to mirrors and stainless steel cookware. Consuming anywhere from 150 to 250 micrograms of nickel a day is considered safe, although anything more can be considered an environmental pollutant, forcing officials to warn against long-term exposure to nickel.
That unsafe overexposure can cause liver and kidney failure, and when it binds with estrogen, it can be a cause of breast cancer. It’s also been shown to lead to birth defects, infertility and other reproductive ailments.
Another metal often found in stainless steel cookware, copper is often prized for its beautiful shine and color. Generations ago, it was normal to use copper cookware in most home cooking. While it’s become more widely known that copper cookware presents dangerous levels of this metal, leading to a poisonous reaction and the shutdown of major organs, trace amounts of copper are still found in stainless steel cookware. Acidic foods also tend to absorb more copper, leading to harmful amounts of it getting into food.
Found in the Earth’s crust, titanium is a strong metal used in a variety of ways. But too much titanium exposure can be harmful to the body in many ways. Titanium has been found to be harmful to the lungs of mice and in large amounts can kill brain cells in otherwise healthy adult humans. While a lot of studies still need to be done on the impact of titanium absorption in the body, it’s best to avoid consuming titanium if it all possible, even if it’s trace amounts found in stainless steel cookware.
Other Harmful Cookware
Stainless steel isn’t the only type of cookware that’s harmful to the body. A lot of the metal components found in stainless steel cookware also are in other cookware on the market.
Teflon is another popular form of cookware that has been shown to be harmful. Bits of the chemicals found in Teflon, used to create a nonstick surface, can break off into the food, especially if metal spoons, spatulas or other tools are used on the surface.
Harsh scrubbing, detergent and salt can even cause Teflon to weaken and come off the bottom of the pan. While it was considered a revolutionary addition to the kitchen when it first appeared on the market, and is still widely sold today, Teflon is often avoided by home cooks in favor of safer options.
Glass might seem like a harmless way to cook and prepare food. What could be so bad about it? But in some pieces of glass cookware, there are trace amounts of lead. Glass cookware also doesn’t cook foods as evenly, can often not withstand super high cooking temperatures and doesn’t hold the heat as well.
While we don’t usually cook in plastics, we do often see plastics used to store food and reheat it later. When was the last time you packed your lunch in anything other than a plastic container? Even plastics considered microwave safe aren’t necessarily good for us. That often just means the plastic won’t melt or warp under the heat. But harmful chemicals, some even believed to lead to cancer, can be released into the food as it sits in storage or when it’s reheated later.
Healthy Stainless Steel Cookware Alternatives – Xtrema 100% Ceramic Cookware
Many people who want to lead a healthy lifestyle are on a quest to find out what is the safest cookware to use. While so many options contain dangerous metals and chemicals and can add unwanted flavors to your food, ceramic cookware has proven over and over again that it is a safe, healthy alternative to stainless steel cookware.
Clay cookware has been used for centuries for cooking, whether completed over an open fire or in today’s most modern kitchens. Let’s take a look at ceramic cookware compared to stainless steel and other cookware.
For one, Xtrema ceramic cookware doesn’t require the maintenance of stainless steel or cast iron. One needs to be polished and well-maintained to keep its shine, the other requires regular seasoning, especially if you try to wash it or overheat it.
Xtrema ceramic cookware can withstands temperatures of 2,500 degrees F, so you can feel comfortable putting it under the broiler, using it in the oven or even putting it over the grill. This also helps keep you and your family safe from dangerous cooking fires.
Plus, Xtrema ceramic cookware can easily be cleaned in the dishwasher. You don’t have to worry about leaving it to soak in the sink like you might with other cookware, and it doesn’t need special cleaning care to help it last a lifetime.
Xtrema ceramic cookware is made using all-natural clay, water and gas. Crafted with care, each piece of Xtrema cookware is environmentally friendly and created with the finest detail thanks to trained artisans who use fire kilns to make each piece by hand.
It’s also free of heavy metals and is made in a way that protects the environment — making it a piece of cookware that is not only a great addition to your home, but one you can feel good about buying.
Remember how we explained Teflon and stainless steel can be scratched? Not Xtrema ceramic cookware. You don’t have to worry about the bacteria that can fester in the grooves of other cookware — or about harmful metals, flakes or other debris getting into your food. Xtrema ceramic cookware is a stainless steel cookware alternative you can feel good about.
It also won’t carry over flavors from previous meals you’ve made or leave behind residue that can be tough to clean from other types of cookware. Instead, Xtrema ceramic cookware will enhance the flavor of the healthy foods you’ve so carefully chosen to prepare for your family. You can use fewer oils and butter, cut back on salt and let the natural flavors of the food infuse together for a healthy, nutritious meal.
Xtrema ceramic cookware is so versatile, you can use it anywhere in the kitchen. Use it on the stove top, pop it in the oven or place it under the broiler. You also can put the cookware straight into the microwave or on the grill. It’s also safe in the freezer, refrigerator and dishwasher. Don’t worry about using special soaps or cleaning products to keep it in good shape. This cookware is ready to go through some heavy use to be the only cookware you ever use.
It’s easy to go through one Teflon pan after another or find stainless steel options just don’t last. Even copper cookware requires dedication to ensuring it’s kept in top shape. If not cared for properly, cast iron will even rust and require hours of work to try to bring it back to a usable function. With Xtrema cookware, whether it’s a pot, pan, Dutch oven or skillet, the ability to last a long time makes it a cost-effective investment.
Don’t worry about replacing your cookware year after year. Each piece of Xtrema cookware is built to last, making it a piece of cookware you can be comfortable adding to your cooking toolkit.
Ceramic Cookware Safety
When you try to be healthy and pack your lunches or plan your meals in advance, it can be tough to avoid reheating meals in plastic containers. From the Ceramcor product assortment comes the FridgeX Silicone Storage container. Also made from natural products, these silicone containers are carefully crafted with a compound found in rocks and sand. It’s considered nontoxic and has the FDA’s seal of approval as a safe alternative for food storage.
It not only carries the same features as ceramic cookware, featuring durable, unbreakable and recyclable materials, but it can be used in a variety of ways, from food storage in the refrigerator or freezer to reheating in the oven or microwave. It’s also dishwasher safe, making it super easy to clean and store.
Silicone cookware also won’t stain or hold flavors from other foods. It quickly disperses heat and is safe around children who might want to help with cooking in the kitchen, but you worry about them handling heavy or breakable items. Also, being microwave safe really means safe. It will withstand high oven temperatures of 500 F and it also won’t leach harmful chemicals into your foods while they cook in the oven, microwave or toaster oven.
The growing popularity of silicone cookware as an alternative for cooking and food storage makes it a great addition to a home cook’s kitchen supply closet. See what options Ceramcor has to offer to add this safe food storage option to your healthy eating efforts.
Feel Safe Cooking With Xtrema Cookware
You already do a lot to make sure you take care of yourself. So many people eat right, exercise and try to incorporate healthy foods and home cooking into their diet. When you cook at home, you have the ability to choose the ingredients that go into your meals and better control your portions.
If you’ve already taken all of those steps to lead a healthier life, don’t let your cookware choices get in the way of obtaining your lifestyle goals. It is possible to find cookware that doesn’t contain harmful heavy metals, chemicals or additives that can flake off, melt or otherwise be absorbed by your food.
Xtrema ceramic cookware is safe cookware. It’s a product you can feel comfortable using in your home and cooking with to feed your friends and family. Plus, you’ll enjoy foods with more enhanced flavors, more even cooking and the ability to use your cookware in a variety of ways.
Check out the wide variety of cookware options Xtrema has to offer.