Tips for cooking with 5 different types of Pots

Written by Sierra Steele BSc Nutrition, Candidate

Reviewed by Andrea Miller MHSC, RD

Iron Pots – Low levels of iron in the body is a global issue. Interestingly, iron can be obtained through the use of iron pots or pans. Iron from the pots leaches into foods cooked in them, increasing the iron content of whatever you are cooking.  In some cases, this could make up approximately 20% of the recommended daily intake of iron. Iron is most easily leached when cooking with foods that are acidic or high in vitamin C, such as tomatoes or tomato sauce.

Stainless Steel Pots – The low cost and high safety levels of these pots make them a common household item. Stainless steel pots are strong, and do not allow metals to leach into the food. This is important since the body can only withstand trace amounts of certain metals – higher levels can be toxic. Overall, stainless steel is a great metal to cook with, as it ensures safe preparation of food.

Non-stick Pots – These pots have a special coating that prevents food from sticking to the appliance, extending the duration and maintaining the quality of the pot. In addition to being beneficial for the pot, the coating is helpful for consumers. The non-stick coating may mean that less added fat is required when cooking many foods.

Aluminum Pots – Like iron pots, aluminum pots also leach metal into food. The use of these pots can contribute up to 10-20% of our total daily intake of aluminum. Aluminum is commonly absorbed by leafy greens, or high acid foods (i.e. tomatoes, lemons). To prevent high rates of aluminum absorption, these pots undergo a process called anodization. In this process, conducted electric currents produce a protective layer, reducing the amount of aluminum leached into the food, and ensuring levels that are safe for consumer use.

Silicone Cookware – This newer type of cookware is created from a synthetic rubber made from silicone and oxygen. Unique features include its non-stick surface, high temperature tolerance, and resistance to stains. There are no known health issues related to silicone cookware, and it is not known to have negative reactions with food or beverages, or produce hazardous fumes.

Additional Kitchen Tips:

Common Mistake: Quick Fix:
Metal utensils used with metal cookware can cause damage to the pot, and flake the finish into the food. Use wooden, silicone or bamboo utensils to avoid “metal-on-metal” contact.
Leaving empty pots and pans on a heated stove can emit harmful chemicals into the air. After use, always remove pots and pans from a hot element.
Kitchenware with high levels of nickel can result in nickel leaching into food. Purchase kitchenware made with low levels of nickel, such as stainless steel.

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