Stainless steel cookware is generally considered safe for cooking because it is made of a combination of metals such as chromium, nickel, and iron, which are not known to be harmful in small amounts. However, under certain circumstances, such as cooking acidic or salty foods for prolonged periods of time, stainless steel can leach small amounts of nickel and chromium into the food.
The amount of metal leaching from stainless steel cookware can vary depending on the quality of the cookware, the cooking temperature, the duration of cooking, and the type of food being cooked. Studies have shown that the amount of metal leaching increases with higher temperatures and longer cooking times.
While the amount of metal leaching from stainless steel cookware is generally considered to be very small and unlikely to cause harm, people with nickel or chromium allergies or sensitivities may be more susceptible to adverse effects.
To minimize the risk of metal leaching, it is recommended to use high-quality stainless steel cookware with a high nickel content, avoid cooking highly acidic or salty foods for prolonged periods of time, and replace cookware that is pitted or damaged.
Thanks to the article from "The Healthy Home Economist", John who put these helpful rules of thumb and general guidelines for safely cooking with stainless steel. It is important to note that individual sensitivity to metals may vary and consulting with a healthcare provider is recommended if there are concerns. Below are some of the highlights:
For acidic cooking, choose ceramic coated cast iron, glass, or certified toxin-free clay pots instead of stainless steel.
Copper cookware is safe and can be used for longer cooking and acidic foods, but it is quite pricey.
Consider alternate cookware if you are nickel or chromium sensitive or test high for these metals.
Some stainless steel cookware uses a cladding of extremely high-grade 430 stainless steel or is nickel-free, which may be a good alternative for those sensitive to nickel.
Be aware that most restaurants cook almost exclusively in stainless steel.
Take good care of stainless steel cookware and recycle it if it becomes damaged in any way to avoid adding brain impairing aluminum into your meals.
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