Current Issue

Recent research suggests that what you cook and store your food in—not just the ingredients you use—may have a profound effect on your health and well-being.

Cookware and bakeware

  • Avoid aluminum. Although lightweight and cheap, aluminum cookware is highly reactive, especially f you cook acidic foods in it, such as tomatoes. Concerns exist about aluminum’s toxicity and a possible link with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Stay clear of PFOAs. Teflon, Silverstone, and other brands of nonstick cookware produced with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are of concern if they are heated to high temperatures, as they emit noxious fumes.
    Known for decades to kill pet birds and harm small animals, in humans PFOA exposure is linked with infertility, cancer, and thyroid problems. PFOA has been detected in the blood of adults and babies.
  • Instead, choose inert and low-risk options such as glass, ceramic, cast iron, enameled cast iron, stainless steel, and lead-free glazed earthenware. If you prefer a very slippery cooking surface, try PFOA-free nonstick brands such as Green Pan, Neoflam, and Scanpan.

Storage containers

Avoid bisphenol A (BPA). Found in many plastics, such as bottles, boxes, and the lining of most canned foods, this chemical can leach into your food and drinks, especially if you heat the container. Even organic and apparently healthy canned products, such as vegetable soup and baby food , have been found to be contaminated with BPA at low levels.

Low levels of exposure over time are linked to infertility, attention deficit disorder, thyroid malfunction, obesity, breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. As an endocrine disrupter, BPA might also pose risks for early puberty. Pregnant women, babies, and young children are most vulnerable.

Store food in glass containers, not plastics. In particular, avoid plastics labeled with recycle codes 3 and 7.Use more fresh produce and minimize reliance on canned products. Blood and urine levels of BPA drop significantly if you switch to a fresh-food diet.

Nutritionist Sue Radd is the award-winning author of The Breakfast Book and coauthor of Eat To Live, internationally acclaimed for showing how savvy eating can combat cancer and heart disease and improve wellbeing. See for more nutrition information.

Food Matters: Detox Your Cookware

by Sue Radd
From the June 2012 Signs