Alternatives to Aluminum in the Kitchen

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Introduction

The other day my little sister was lining a pan with aluminum foil for some sweet potato fries she was baking… I, of course, immediately tackled her, allowed her to recover, and then ranted for hours about the dangers of heavy metal toxicity. Now, its probably not necessary to spear your little sister or your friends when they pull out aluminum foil, but I strongly believe that everyone should be aware of aluminum’s link to adverse health effects including anemia, blood disorders, colic, dental carries, dementia, hypoparathyroidism, kidney disfunction, and liver disfunction (1). Aluminum toxicity has also been linked to causing symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases (1).

Every time aluminum is heated and placed in direct contact with food, some aluminum is leached into that food, say the potatoes you wrapped in aluminum foil and placed in the oven. When you eat foods which contain aluminum, they may be stored in your body, in vital organs such as your brain. Over many years, aluminum may accumulate in these organs and cause the aforementioned health effects.

Alternatives to Using Aluminum Cookware and Aluminum Foil in the Kitchen

Although aluminum foil does make some cooking tasks a bit easier and less messy and aluminum pans are cheap to purchase, they may not be worth the serious health consequences which could develop years down the road. There are a number of alternatives to using aluminum in the kitchen which do not cause great inconvenience and have been proven to be much safer.

Glass casserole dishes with lids can be used to cover dishes during and after baking. Glass pans can also be used to roast vegetables; although it is a bit messier to not use aluminum foil, I have found that simply soaking the pans for a few hours and scrubbing them hard later cleans the pans very well. If you are baking potatoes, simply poke many holes in them or cut them into sections before baking. If baking sweet potatoes, place a pan below them to catch any drippings rather than using aluminum foil. A number of other strategies for reducing the use of aluminum in cooking can be found in this article.

Cookware may also contain aluminum, which may also be hazardous to health. In my research, I have found that cast-iron cookware sets are the safest, although excessive use could potentially cause iron toxicity, particularly in men. A great article I found which compares a number of cookware materials and sets can be read by clicking here.

Conclusion

Next time you see a friend or family member pull out aluminum foil or cookware, be sure to inform them of the safer, more eco-friendly alternatives. Thank you 🙂

References

1) http://www.arltma.com/Articles/AlumToxDoc.htm

Further Reading

1) Heavy Metals… I’m not Talkin’ Rock & Roll

2) Rethinking Aluminum Foil