How Cookware Affects Nutrients in Your Food

Do you know that you can go to great lengths to research the right kinds of food to eat and spend time and money buying all the right stuff, only to ruin everything you’ve done right at the moment of preparing your meal? Did you ask how that is possible?

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It’s really simple; the cookware you use can improve or impair the quality of the food cooked in them. We like to think of cookware as nothing more than a neutral vessel for holding meals while they cook. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

Pots and pans interact with your food. Some pots will enhance the flavor and color of your vegetables, as well as preserve their nutrients. Others will reduce the benefits of food by accelerating the loss of nutrients during cooking.

Cooked food is easier to digest and cooking increases the rate of absorption of nutrients. But not all cooking methods or cooking utensils are equal. Some pots and pans are better for preparing meals than others. Checkout HomeDesign X for reviews of various cookware and their recommendations on the best pots and pans.

How cookware affects the nutrients in your food

The main issue with cookware is the material in it. These days we are swamped with tons of options when shopping for pots and pans. This can be a good or bad thing. It is bad because you are more likely to buy the wrong kind of cookware. It is good because you have alternatives.

But you can only exercise your power to make the right choices when you know what the best cookware for your kitchen is. Here is a list of the available cookware in the market and how they interact with the meals you cook in them.

Aluminum cookware:

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Aluminum pots and pans have excellent thermal conductivity, are lightweight, and affordable. As long as they are made from anodized aluminum, which is different from and more expensive than raw aluminum, they are safe. But aluminum will make the aroma of vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts stronger. Aluminum pots will also react with white vegetables like potatoes and cauliflower and turn them yellow.

Cast iron cookware

Cast iron pots are durable, inexpensive, and distribute heat evenly. If seasoned properly, they are nonstick and can retain heat well. Cast iron pots do not react with food, but they can leach iron into food. This is not a problem if you don’t suffer from “hemochromatosis.” Other problems you will face with cast iron cookware are they don’t take well to acidic food and can be quite heavy.

Stainless steel cookware

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron and other metals. Its primary advantage is its durability. Stainless steel has poor heat transfer and distribution. If one of the metals in the alloy is nickel, it can be a problem for some people. Food like pasta and potatoes will react with stainless steel and darken the pot. Only use stainless steel pots if they are certified to have been made from kitchen-grade stainless steel.

Copper cookware

Copper is a potentially poisonous metal, which is why copper cookware is lined with other metals. But copper pots have excellent thermal conductivity; meals prepared in them cook evenly. But copper will react with acidic and alkaline foods. Also, if it comes in contact with certain food, it will discolor them. Only use copper pots if the metal lining is intact and there are no orange-colored lines inside the pot.

Ceramic cookware 

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Ceramic pots are made from clay but unlike natural clay utensils, they have a coating of varnish. The first issue with ceramic pots is they produce harsh near-infrared heat that will destroy delicate nutrients – phytonutrients, flavonoids, and water-soluble nutrients – in your food. The other issue is that the metal toxins in the coating can leach into food cooked in a ceramic pot. 

Pure clay cookware 

This is the most natural and safest material for making pots and pans. Pure clay pots do not leach dangerous toxins into food. They radiate far-infrared heat that allows your food to be thoroughly cooked in less time, even at medium heat. The other great thing about food cooked in pure clay cookware is they retain its natural color and taste. Pure clay pots are porous; they will leave food juicy but firm.

Glass cookware

Glass is a neutral material; it does not react with food. The main attraction of glass pots is they are pretty and let you see how your food is cooking without opening the pot. The challenge with glass is they are fragile and break easily; glass pots are not as durable as the other options in this list.

Non-stick coatings

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Non-stick surfaces are found in a lot of cookware. The advantage of a non-stick surface is food will not stick to the bottom of the pot or pan and is, therefore, less likely to burn. But non-stick surfaces are made from plastic – polytetrafluoroethylene – which can be harmful. At certain temperatures, this plastic emits fumes that enter your food and can cause diseases in the future.


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