Cast iron, aluminum, stainless steel, or clay: What utensil should you cook food in?

Bronze cookware retains 97 percent of the nutritional content of the food,” Dr Dimple Jangda shared

It is important to eat healthy and nutritious foods, but how and what utensils you cook your meals in is equally important. As such, choosing the right utensil to cook your food is paramount as some cookware materials are laden with toxic chemicals which can contaminate the food by seeping into it. If you are wondering what are the best utensils to cook your food in, Dr Dimple Jangda, an Ayurveda expert, took to Instagram to answer that question for you. Check out what she had to say below:

1. Stainless steel: Such utensils are “widely available, easy to maintain, and you can cook wide varieties of dishes in it.” But, she shared that it can only retain around 60-70 percent of the nutrient content of the food. “Avoid buying stainless steel that is polished with chromium or nickel as they may cause health threats,” the expert warned.

2. Cast iron: Listing the benefits of cast iron she said that it is a “long-lasting, sturdy metal, and has many health benefits.” She added that when food is cooked in cast iron utensils, small amounts of iron seep into the food from the cookware which can be healthy for our bodies. However, she warned that people “battling with iron overload in the body (Thalassemia major) should avoid cooking food in cast iron” as “modern-day cast iron utensils come with a safe coating to reduce leaching of excess iron.”

3. Brass: Brass retains about 90 percent of the nutritional content of the food. But, “you need to put in extra care to wash such utensils and not cook acidic or citric foods in them,” she warned.

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4. Bronze: Dr Dimple said that bronze cookware retains 97 percent of the nutritional content of the food. However, she suggested, “avoid any bronze utensils that come with tin or nickel coating, as it may lead to health hazards.”

5. Clay: Clay heats up slowly and, thus, helps in retaining moisture and nutrients of the food. However, she added that it might take slightly longer to cook food in it.

6. Ceramic: It mostly has a very thin ceramic coating, and underneath there may be a coating of aluminum that can pose serious health hazards. If you have to use ceramic cookware, make sure you buy one with heavy ceramic coating.

7. Aluminum: “Has been considered a thyrotoxic metal, and it easily leaches in the food and can trigger serious health issues like liver disorders, constipation, paralysis and even brain disorders,” she wrote

8. Granite utensils can pose some serious health conditions too if they are coated with a harmful substance called tetra-fluoro ethylene.

9. Non-stick cookware: These are “usually coated with Teflon that contains material like cadmium and mercury, which can pose health threats like various kinds of cancer, heart diseases, mental, nerve disorders, kidney and liver disease.” PFOA is a chemical that was previously used to manufacture Teflon. Since 2013, PFOA has been removed from Teflon products, but there are still other components, namely PFAS that are not fully understood.

Finally, she suggested buying “unglazed pots” as “the glazed ones may use harmful chemicals that may release during the process of cooking.”

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