Why should we not cook food with Aluminium utensils?

Aluminum Utensils - P-TAL

Aluminium utensils have been the most ubiquitous staple in Indian households. Aluminium pots are always the first choice for boiling milk or preparing tea. However, there have been recent concerns regarding its use in cookware and kitchenware and the general side effects of cooking with aluminium utensils. So, the question arises: Is aluminium bad for cooking? Due to its properties, aluminium does not get digested or out of the digestive tract as waste, creating various health hazards. The core reasons why we should not cook in aluminium vessels include—

Leaching: While cooking with aluminium, a significant concern is the possibility of aluminium leaching into the food, especially when dealing with acidic or high-temperature foods. The phenomenon of leaching also depends on various factors such as pH, temperature, cooking medium, food composition, duration of cooking, and the presence of certain food elements such as sugar, salt, organic acid, and fluoride.

Acidic reactions: The side effects of aluminium utensils include problems such as "acidic reactions" to the food products that are being cooked. When it comes to acidic foods like vinegar, lime, or tomatoes, they are responsible for the increasing dissolution of aluminium ions in the food, which is a massive factor in causing health issues.

Alzheimer's disease: Recent studies have shown that cooking in aluminium increases the possibility of Alzheimer's disease. "It is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions." Multiple studies show the increased levels of aluminium in the brain tissues of some patients who have Alzheimer's.

Food Safety: It's noted that scratches or dents in the aluminium vessels can act as a breeding ground for microorganisms, substantially increasing the risk of foodborne diseases.

Environmental effects: Apart from consumption through cookware, aluminium is highly toxic to aquatic organisms in freshwater. It affects not only the marine but also the terrestrial ecosystem. It is a harmful agent for animals that breathe through gills, such as fish and invertebrates, by decreasing plasma and haemolymph.

Moreover, the roots of trees are highly affected by increasing levels of aluminium. Therefore, this aquatic and terrestrial toxification can act as a link to enter the food chain even further.

Healthy Alternative Options

Contrary to popular belief, far healthier alternatives to aluminium exist. Metals such as Kansa (Bronze), Brass, and Copper have always been considered great options for cookware and kitchenware. Traditionally, Indian households have used these metals since ancient times due to their unique health benefits. Brass is known for its antibacterial properties that help prevent infections and maintain the body temperature. Besides having a longer shelf life, Brass also helps preserve the consistency of food products such as spices, pickles, etc. The amounts of copper and zinc present in Brass's composition are responsible for nourishing the hair and skin.

Kansa (Bronze), Brass, and Copper Utensils - P-TAL

Other benefits include—

Enhanced Digestion:  Given the alkaline nature of Brass utensils, they are believed to neutralize excess stomach acid, balance the body's pH, and thus aid digestion.

Increased Immunity: Along with its antibacterial properties, the large amounts of zinc present in Brass are a significant aid for building immunity by preventing stomach infections and improving overall digestive health

Weight management: The copper traces in brass utensils help fight obesity and, therefore, are great for healthy weight management.

Added Minerals: Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, so cooking in brass utensils can introduce these minerals into the food, which may help in various physiological processes such as immune function and enzyme activity.

Conclusion

Aluminium products are considered very convenient when it comes to affordability and usage, but it's worth keeping in mind that they also bring potential health risks. As mentioned above, a great alternative to it is the usage of metals such as Kansa, Copper, and Brass. These metals have been historically known for their health benefits and their unique quality of adding and intensifying the taste of the food being cooked. Along with the health benefits, they add a traditional aesthetic to the cooking experience. Therefore, it's essential to make informed decisions about the cookware that one is using.