As an integrative physician, some of the most important recommendations I make for my patients are centered around healthy eating habits. But what about healthy cooking? The right cooking techniques which increase nutrient availability are certainly an important part of a healthy diet, but many people don’t consider the fact that some cooking methods also increase the presence of toxins in your food as well.
Over the past decade, there have been a significant number of reports revealing the presence of harmful, carcinogenic chemicals and heavy metals in aluminum and Teflon-coated (non-stick coating) cookware. Numerous peer reviewed studies have highlighted the real dangers of non-stick chemicals, and DuPont, the chemical company which manufactures Teflon, has been battling with the US Environmental Protection Agency for the last several years. It seems that Dupont continues to assert that the chemicals used in their cookware are “safe,” meanwhile paying millions of dollars in penalties for polluting public drinking water and concealing information about Teflon’s health hazards. A number of independent peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated that non-stick chemicals such as Teflon are carcinogenic and can cause birth defects, and even something called the “Teflon Flu” in humans. These staggering reports are encouraging many to look twice at the cookware they’re using on a daily basis.
Non-Stick Cookware Chemicals
PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, is the main chemical used in the manufacturing of Teflon non-stick coating, as well as in materials that are fire-resistant and able to repel oil, stain, grease and water. While this feature might make appear to make PFOA ideal for use in non-stick cookware, scientists have expressed grave concerns about how exposure to this known toxin, as well as the 15 other types of gasses that are released when cooking with Teflon, could affect your health. Contact with PFOA might primarily come from consumer products, but may also stem from environmental contamination, as demonstrated by the Teflon manufacturing plant’s environmental pollution lawsuits. Two studies conducted since 1999 show that PFOA precursors have been found in tap water, food or air in a number of cities across the country, indicating a highly prevalent risk of exposure.
Health Risks of Aluminum and Non-Stick Cookware
A normal intake of aluminum is roughly three to five milligrams per day, but Americans may ingest up to 10 milligrams per day on average. Cooking and storing acidic foods in aluminum pots and pans is likely to leech higher amounts of aluminum into the food. Research suggests that using Teflon, aluminum and other cookware products can increase risks of cancer, respiratory problems, and other serious health problems in adults and children, including the risk for Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly.
The link between aluminum and Alzheimer's disease was first presented in the 1960s and since then, researchers have claimed a number of other circumstantial links between the two. Aluminum has been shown to be associated with plaques and tangles in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease and further evidence indicates that aluminum may be involved in the formation of these plaques. These and other findings suggest that aluminum is a contributing factor to this all too prevalent disease which appears to be showing up in younger and younger populations of people.
Protect your Health: Detoxify your Kitchen and Your Body
So what can you do to protect your body from these harmful and elusive toxins? The first step is to choose alternatives to replace your aluminum or Teflon-coated cookware. The Seattle-based Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition and other experts recommend stainless-steel, cast-iron, glass and enameled cast-iron cookware as the best options. Once you’ve upgraded your cookware to these healthier alternatives, choose an effective method of clearing your body of years of toxic buildup.
My top recommendation is to engage in a gentle and gradual heavy metal and environmental toxin cleanse using a natural chelation formula made of modified citrus pectin and seaweed-derived alginates. Not only is this combination clinically proven to remove heavy metals including aluminum, lead, arsenic and mercury from the body, but it also achieves this goal without leeching essential minerals in the process. Additionally, it prevents the re-absorption of toxins through the digestive tract. This formula is phase one of a comprehensive, two-step detoxification protocol for removing harmful heavy metals and toxins from the body.
A secondary phase two detox formula can further enhance your detoxification process. For this purpose, I use a specially tailored blend that includes garlic, cilantro, sulfured amino acids, minerals, along with energy enhancing and detox supporting botanicals including milk thistle seed extract and gingko. The combination of phase one and phase two detox formulas, when used over three to six months, provides a clinically proven, gentle detoxification from health robbing heavy metals and environmental toxins that may have been stored in our our tissues and organs for years.
By Dr. Isaac Eliaz M.D., L.Ac., M.S.
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