Cooking Utensils and Nutrition
India has a rich history of food and cooking styles, which date back to 5000 years ago. Despite all the new modern cookware in the market including non-stick surfaces and anodized aluminum, the best and healthiest choice in selecting cookware is looking back to old times. We should learn from our ancestors what they did.
In old times, ancient Indian cooking pots were traditional champions. Have you ever thought why the food cooked in chulhas and open fire taste better than stove-cooked food?
The food that your ancestors used to cook in chulhas using the traditional earthen cooking pots used to be tastier as the clay pots not only preserve the food nutrition but also add taste to it.
But in the modern world people have got busier and have replaced the old traditional method with modern quick-fixes not thinking about the health hazard they cause. The pots and pans you use to cook the food do more than just holding your food. The material it is made up of can leach into the food that is being cooked.
If serving nutrient-rich food to your family is your priority then you must also take care of the utensils in which you cook the food. We all are aware of the hazards of using plastic serving utensils in the kitchen. Just give it a thought the utensil in which you cook, the modern utensils are dangerous as they emit toxic, cancer-causing fumes.
People these days have started to adopt traditional cookware for their daily cooking needs after realizing the ill-effects of new age cooking utensil. Let us have a look at the healthiest type of cookware we can use.
1. Best is earthenware
Indian culture has always used earthenware, they have the heat bearing capacity for open fire slow cooking. Cooking utensils made of clay has amazing benefits for your health as clay pot will preserve your food nutrients and keep its taste enact.
The clay content allows moisture and heat to circulate through food that further helps in retaining nutrients. The only drawback with clay pot cooking is it takes double time to cook food as compared to other mediums.
2. Stainless steel
Stainless steel of a thick gauge is a good, all-round material for nearly all types of cuisines. Stainless steel is the best option because the Chromium Oxide layer on top of it has maximum corrosion resistance.
It does not react with food even at high temperature. It neither would do any bad to your health nor would add good to your health, because steel doesn’t react negatively with excessive heat and similarly, doesn’t release anything toxic. It is also recommended that we replace all non-stick cooking utensils with stainless steel counterparts.
3. Iron cookware
Traditionally, it is believed that cooking in iron utensils, provides health benefits. When you cook food in Iron utensils than iron get released in food and will help in improving hemoglobin levels in children’s.
But daily cooking in Iron is not recommended twice or thrice a week is OK, plus you have to take extra care in cleaning and maintaining the iron vessel as they tend to get rusted, and remember never cook sour and acidic foods in them and also don’t store water.
You should use brass if you want to keep the nutrition of your food above 90%. It is said that cooking veggies and meat in brass utensil are the best way to gain all nutrients. It is a good source of copper and zinc.
Drinking water from a brass vessel is also damn tasty. The only downside of this utensil is that it requires extra care while washing. Also, you must avoid cooking too much acidic food as it reacts with acidic food when heated.
5. Bronze or Kansa metal
Bronze or Kansa is the ideal way for healthy cooking and was used by the royal families to cook and eat and it retains nearly 97 percent nutrients. It is a popular metal for serving dishes, it is believed that using Kansa to eat our food and drink water from on a daily basis imparts many health benefits apart from purifying the food.
Bronze (kansa) utensils according to an Ayurvedic book “increase the memory of brain” it is also said to removed many problems like gastric, hair loss, skin problem, tension, etc.
Aluminum cookware is very popular. Nonstick, scratch-resistant anodized aluminum cookware is a good choice. The hard surface is easy to clean and it is sealed so that nothing can transfer to the food.
Aluminum cookware can also impact your health negatively. It takes away iron and calcium from your food if it doesn’t have a protective layer. The protective layer keeps your food safe and the metal doesn’t mix with food.
Ceramic or glass dishes can be safely used instead of plastic for heating and cooking in microwave ovens.
Ultimately there is no “best metal” for cooking. Every metal has its strengths and weaknesses in the cooking world. Choose metal cookware and bakeware that can be easily cleaned. There should be no cracks or rough edges that can trap or hold food or bacteria.