Posted on April 23 2022
Is cast iron better than stainless steel?
We all come across the TV ads on the different options of cookware available in the market - from stainless steel, cast iron cookware to non-stick cookware.
It is true that everyone is concerned about health and are careful about the foods they consume and for health benefits.
But is that the same for the cookware we use?
Cookware matters a lot as every time we cook food, components of the cookware blends with the food we eat.
Stainless steel is generally considered safe for human health. This is why you will popularly see it being used in most kitchenware. Though there are some toxins in stainless steel like chromium, not much is leached into food being cooked and one can use this safely.
Stainless steel is also one I often suggest my clients make the switch to as it is economical and easily sourceable.
What about cast iron?
The other good option would be cast iron. Iron cookwear also leaches some iron molecules to the food being cooked, which is a good thing to prevent iron deficiency.
I would suggest avoiding deep frying in iron, as when high temperatures of the oil’s react with the iron, it generates toxic trans fats to the food. Trans fats lead to chronic inflammation, raise the bad cholesterol in the body and even leads to heart attacks.
Which is the healthiest cookware?
While looking for the healthiest cooking utensils, it might be interesting to note just how difficult it is to find pots and pans that seem suitable for your family. Healthy, non-toxic kitchenware is more important than most people realize. An essential thing to remember is that each choice has its advantages and disadvantages.
Certain metals used in kitchen utensils could be harmful to you, the environment, or your food. Issues regarding certain chemicals being used in various cookware, such as non-stick pans, on people's health, such as liver and thyroid difficulties, reproductive troubles, and even some cancers, contributed to several prohibitions.
As a result, while selecting the healthiest cookware, eliminate any PFAS-based cookware, such as PFOA, PFOS, and GenX. Although they make cooking and cleaning easier, convenience really shouldn't come at the expense of health.
My personal suggestion would be stainless steel or cast iron.
Stainless-steel pots and pans are the safest and healthiest option for versatile cooking. Stainless steel kitchenware is created of a combination of metals. While stainless steel is a strong and nonreactive metal, it is a poor conductor of heat and is rather heavy.
Stainless steel cookware many be made of multiple layers. Almost always, aluminium is also often bounded with stainless steel. Thus, you might want to look out for a version that is free of aluminium.
Stainless steel kitchenware is an essential part of the kitchen because of its flexibility and durability, but it's not non-stick, so you'll need to use a fair quantity of oil or fat.
Stainless steel cookware lasts a long time with next to no upkeep. Because of the nickel and chromium, it would not corrode, rust, or react to acidic foods. It is also suitable to use at extreme heat on all stovetops and, based on the grip material, in the oven.
Non-stick pans vs cast iron for cooking
A non-stick skillet or pan can be composed of several metals, although the most common are carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminium, or copper. However, when it comes to non-stick cookware, the coating is more important than the metal.
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is the coating that enables a non-stick pan so convenient to use. In addition, a non-stick pan's Teflon layer offers an extraordinarily smooth surface that helps you make food without it sticking. Both PTFE and teflon are hormone disrupters and must be avoided.
Although a cast iron pan often has a rough surface, it may be smoothed by properly seasoning it. For ages, both home cooks and professionals have utilized cast iron cookware. It's inexpensive, adaptable, and lasts forever. Although iron may seep into food, it is usually thought to be harmless.
It is, undoubtedy, one of the most durable forms of cookware. Cast iron pans can withstand extremely high temperatures, making them ideal for roasting vegetables. The cast iron takes time to heat up, but it keeps heat effectively. Whenever you want to cook something with a lot of heat, cast iron is the way to go.
Cast iron vs hard anodized for cooking
Hard-anodized cookware begins with aluminium, a lightweight metal that is less robust. Then, a unique procedure oxidizes the surface of the milder metal, transforming it into a robust, durable cookware material that is heavier and more resistant to harm.
Cast-iron cookware needs a bit longer to heat up than other varieties, so you'll have to be patient to have the pan to optimum temperature. It may also heat unevenly, creating problems when you begin cooking before it has fully heated up. We already know that cast iron is durable if the rust is removed regularly.
Cast iron retains heat well once it has been heated.
Anodized aluminium cookware heats up rapidly. It can withstand greater temperatures than standard aluminium cookware, useful for recipes that call for high heat.
However, anodized aluminium does not survive very long. Unlike non-stick cookware, the surface of anodized aluminium does not chip, peel, scratch, or break but instead wears away eventually.
Cast iron vs aluminium for cooking
Cast iron and cast aluminium have the same appearance and feel, but cast aluminium is stronger and lighter. Because of the larger mass of iron retains heat longer, although it takes a little longer to heat up.
Cast iron is also costlier and has a longer lifetime. Because iron is adaptable and can handle high heat, one can use this cookware on the cooktop, on the oven gill, in the oven, and even on the BBQ.
Aluminium is not as adaptable as iron. And while aluminium transmits heat quite effectively, meaning it heats up quickly and easily, it falls short of equal heat distribution. Although less expensive, it is not as durable as cast-iron cookware.
How about non-stick pans?
Teflon should be a big- NO when cooking. Even while cooking once in a while like for making dosa’s, avoid Teflon pans at all cost. Research has linked the use of Teflon to various forms of cancers, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and even ulcerative colitis.
In fact, even female factory works who work in Teflon warehouses were found exposed to toxic chemicals and elevated cholesterol levels.
Teflon cookware actually comes with a warning that it should be used for slow heating temperatures, but when was the last time you made a dosa on a low flame?
One study also shows a 50% increased risk of colorectal cancer associated with using non-stick cookware.
What about air- fryers?
If you follow me on Instagram, you sure know my love for air- fryers! Well, you definitely cut down on the oils used for cooking, but are air- fryers healthy?
One thing to avoid cooking in air- fryers would be proteins. When protein molecules come in contact with high heat, they denature (change their chemical texture) and release something called AGE’s (advanced glycation end-products). These cause oxidation in the body, leading to reduced lifespan and even symptoms of PCOS.
So air-fried meat/ tofu/ tempeh would be a no. But air-frying carb-based food groups such as potatoes/ sweet potatoes/ roasting vegetables/ vada’s/ bhajiya’s etc is absolutely ok and not associated with side effects.
Trust this helps!