Filed under: Healthy Lifestyle | Tags: best cookware, cast-iron pots and pans, slow cooker
Did you know that your choice of kitchen tools and cookware can make a difference when it comes to your health? It’s true—some materials found in many a kitchen can actually harm you over time, while others will lead to better health. Here are some tools you might like to have if you’re looking to build a better kitchen …
Cast-iron pots and pans. Cast-iron cookware is strangely cheap, extremely durable, and will give you nice even heat. But it will also add a significant amount of iron into your diet, as some iron from the pan actually leaches into the food being cooked. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed, for example, that the iron content of three ounces of applesauce increased from 0.35 mg to 7.3 mg when cooked in an iron pot and scrambled eggs increased from 1.49 mg to 4.76 mg of iron. On the other hand, the worst kind of cookware to use would be anything made of aluminum, a known carcinogen that’s also been shown to contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Glass storage containers. What’s good about glass is that it’s not plastic. Plastic leaches such unhealthy compounds as dioxins and PCBs into our food, especially if heat is introduced into the equation (never microwave food in plastic containers for this reason). Pyrex dishes or Mason jars are a nice alternative to plastic containers.
A wooden cutting board. Cutting boards made of wood are much less likely to harbor pathogenic bacteria than plastic ones.
A blender. Smoothies! If you whip up a smoothie in your blender, whether with fruit, veggies, or both, you’re likely getting 4 or 5 servings of produce in one shot. This is an easy way to add more plants into your diet—a goal all of us should try to achieve.
A slow cooker. I am so in love with my slow cooker. You throw a bunch of ingredients in there in the morning, and by evening you have a delectable, tender concoction, and enough of it to feed a family of four a few times. I’ve used it to make pulled pork, chicken, ribs, brisket, and even lasagna. So it’s clearly convenient, but is there anything particularly healthy about using a slow cooker? Yes! According to Dr. Andrew Weil, slow cooking is less likely to expose you to advanced glycation end products (AGEs), toxins the body absorbs when we consume grilled, fried, or broiled meats cooked at high temperatures. AGEs have been linked to inflammation, insulin resistance, diabetes, vascular and kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Steaming, boiling, or braising foods—which is what the slow cooker does–will reduce your intake of these harmful compounds. Plus, cooking meat on the bone for hours and hours in the slow cooker will draw the key nutrients found in the bones–like collagen and gelatin, both crucial for your bone health–into the finished dish.