Detox Your Cookware

 
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Could toxic chemicals be leaching from pots and pans into your food?

Recent research suggests that what you cook and store your food in—not just the ingredients you use—may have an effect on your health and wellbeing.

Cookware And Bakeware

  • Avoid aluminium. Although lightweight and cheap, aluminium cookware is highly reactive, especially if you cook acidic foods in it, such as tomatoes. Concerns exist about aluminium toxicity and a possible link with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Stay clear of PFOAs. Teflon, Silverstone and other brands of non-stick cookware produced with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are of concern if they are heated to high temperatures, as they emit noxious fumes. Known to kill pet birds and harm small animals, in humans, PFOA exposure is linked with infertility, cancer and thyroid problems. PFOAs have been detected in the blood of adults and babies. Instead, choose inert and low-risk options such as glass, ceramic, cast iron, enamelled cast iron, stainless steel and lead-free glazed earthenware. If you prefer a very slippery cooking surface, try PFOA-free non-stick brands such as Green Pan, Neoflam and Scanpan.

Storage Containers

Avoid Bisphenol A (BPA). Found in many plastics—like bottles, boxes and the lining of most canned foods—this chemical can leach into your food and drink, especially if you heat the container. Even organic and apparently healthful canned products, such as vegetable soup, tuna and baby food, have been found to be contaminated with BPA at low levels.

Low levels of exposure over time are linked to infertility, attention deficit disorder, thyroid malfunction, obesity, breast and prostate cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. As an endocrine disrupter, BPA might also pose risks for early puberty. Pregnant women, babies and young children are most vulnerable.

Best to store food in glass containers, not plastic. In particular, avoid plastics labelled with recycle codes 3 and 7. Use more fresh produce and minimise reliance on canned products. Blood and urine levels of BPA drop significantly if you switch to a fresh-food diet.

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Sue Radd is one of Australia's leading nutritionists and health communicators. She also advises law firms, providing expert nutrition reports for use in court cases.