Aluminum has been used in traditional cooking since the 18th century.
In past, the state dinners were served on dishes made of aluminum whereas officers were served on dishes made with gold or silver.
Due to its lightweight and good thermal conductivity, aluminum cookware is a very popular choice.
Yet these centuries-old metal has shown to pose serious health threats.
Why is such a popular metal dangerous?
When you cook in aluminum cookware – pots, pans or aluminum foil, a bit of metal is absorbed in the food.
A little amount of this metal is excreted by our body means that minimal exposure is ok.
Daily intake established by World Health Organization (WHO) is 1mg/kg body weight that makes up to 50 mg a day as a safe choice.
However, the longer you keep the food in aluminum cookware, the more it gets inside.
Moreover, the leaching of the metal is found higher when you cook citric foods or acidic foods like sauces, wine, lemon and even higher with the addition of spices.
So ultimately it’s found that we are exposed to it more and ingesting more than what our bodies can handle.
The aluminum salts can be absorbed by the gut and stored in various tissues like bones and brain making it dangerous.
Health risks of cooking with aluminum cookware
1. Bone and Renal dysfunctions
Reports have suggested that excess aluminum intakes may be harmful to patients with bone diseases.
It interrupts mineralization and bone cell growth.
It causes renal osteodystrophy where your kidneys fail to maintain proper levels of calcium and phosphorous causing slow growth of bones and even short stature in children.
2. Reduces growth of brain cells
Higher concentration of this metal decreases the growth rate of human brain cells.
Research has shown higher accumulation of aluminum in brains of people above 70.
3. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson
Many kinds of research have shown high levels of aluminum present in brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Aluminum toxicity has been found as a potential contributor to the onset, progression, and aggressiveness of these conditions. [Read More: What is the risk of aluminum as a neurotoxin?.]
These are the big No-Nos
- Cooking acidic and citric foods like tomatoes, tea, coffee, oranges and lemons in aluminum cookware like pots or pans
- Cooking with aluminum foil in an oven or elsewhere
- Storing food for hours in aluminum vessels
So what is the Alternative cookware?
Below are some alternatives to aluminum cookware.
- Stainless steel cookware
- Enameled cast iron cookware
- High-quality Ceramic and glass cookware
Though aluminum has been our favorite cooking option it posses some serious health risk which cannot be ignored.
With the healthier choices available in the market you can always start replacing your vessels with new ones.