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Healthy Types of Metal for Cookware

author image Fern Fischer
Fern Fischer's print and online work has appeared in publications such as Midwest Gardening, Dolls, Workbasket, Quilts for Today and Cooking Fresh. With a broader focus on organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family articles, she specializes in topics involving antique and modern quilting, sewing and needlework techniques.
Healthy Types of Metal for Cookware
Healthy Types of Metal for Cookware Photo Credit: Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images

Health threats may be lurking even in the cookware you use to prepare your family's meals. Teflon coated pans pose dangers to users. They include ingesting minuscule bits of the toxic coating and inhaling the toxic gas given off during cooking. Aluminum pans leach aluminum into food, especially when they are used to cook acidic foods, such as tomato sauce. Aluminum is suspected of being a cause of health problems. Safe metal cookware alternatives are available, and they offer good heating and cooking properties without the fear of toxins or heavy metals leaching into your food.

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Stainless Steel

Stainless steel cookware is available in different alloys, with 10/18 being the safest. This indicates 10 percent of the metal is nickel, which provides the shine, and 18 percent is chromium, which makes the metal non-corrosive. Stainless steel pans may have a layer of stainless over a copper or aluminum core. The core provides good heat transfer, and the stainless steel provides a safe cooking surface. Stainless steel may leach small amounts of nickel in some circumstances, which could be of concern to those with nickel allergies.

Cast Iron

Cast iron cookware is sturdy and long-lasting. One drawback is that it can be heavy to lift during cleaning and cooking. Cast iron must be seasoned to form its natural non-stick properties and to prevent rust; new cast iron cookware is often pre-seasoned and ready to use. Tiny amounts of iron can leach out of cast iron cookware into food. The leached iron is considered a beneficial source of this nutrient, according to Clemson University. Some modern ironware is coated with enamel or ceramic, which gives it an easy-care, durable cooking surface with no leaching.


Titanium is a non-toxic, biocompatible metal used for many medical purposes, such as instruments, dental implant devices and joint replacements. Titanium is lightweight and extremely strong. Titanium cookware uses an aluminum base for even heat transfer and distribution. The non-porous, non-stick titanium outer surface does not allow any aluminum to leach through. Cleanup is easy; simply rinse and wipe dry. Food will not stick to titanium. Oil or water is not necessary to cook food in titanium pans, so food retains more flavor and nutrients.

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