The Truth About Anodized Aluminum Cookware Revealed
By Kirk E
Anodized Aluminum Cookware is created by placing aluminum cookware in an acid solution and running an electric current through the solution. This process deposits a layer of aluminum oxide on the cookware that renders it non-stick, scratch-resistant, and easy to clean. With all the talk about aluminum leaching from cookware into foods cooked in them possibly being linked to Alzheimer’s disease it is understandable that consumers may wonder if these pots and pans are safe.
The Truth About Alzheimer’s Disease and Aluminum
While aluminum has gotten a bad rap in the past most researchers these days no longer believe that Alzheimer’s is linked to it. Aluminum in its non-metallic form makes up about 8% of the earth’s surface. We ingest more of it through the air we breathe and through it’s natural occurrence in the foods we eat than we are ever likely to ingest from it leaching into our foods that are cooked in aluminum cookware.
Of all the aluminum a healthy person consumes on a daily basis very little is absorbed by the body. Most of the aluminum that enters the body gets filtered then excreted by the kidneys. While Alzheimer’s has been studied for over 40 years in search of a link to aluminum and the disease there still remains no conclusive evidence to support this as illustrated below:
- No increased Alzheimer’s deaths have been reported among persons working in the aluminum industry.
- While tea leaves naturally accumulate significant amounts of aluminum which can then seep into the hot beverage there is no evidence of increased Alzheimer’s disease in cultures that traditionally drink lots of tea.
- Studies of the brains of persons who died with Alzheimer’s show a wide range of aluminum concentrations thus refuting the claim for aluminum as the culprit.
- Even studies employing laboratory research animals have turned up no conclusive evidence linking Alzheimer’s to aluminum
Aluminum Deemed Safe For Cookware
All of this leads to the conclusion that there is no correlation between aluminum and Alzheimer’s.
This is why today aluminum cookware is considered to be safe. Additionally the anodized layer actually creates a non-reactive, and durable barrier between the aluminum and anything placed in the pot. The anodized aluminum layer stops any aluminum from leaching into food inside the cookware. However as with all cookware with coated surfaces care must be taken to protect the coating. So steel wool and other abrasive cleaners should be avoided. Similarly metal utensils such as forks, spoons and spatulas etc., should not be used.
Hard Anodized Cookware
The hard anodized version of this cookware has a thicker layer of aluminum oxide which provides greater barrier between the aluminum beneath. Hard anodizing is achieved by passing a higher electrical voltage through the acid bath at a lower temperature. This action causes a deeper penetration of the aluminum oxide into the aluminum and on the surface of the aluminum as well. The end result is a thicker layer of aluminum oxide and cookware created like this is referred to as being hard anodized.
So when thinking of good pots and pans anodized aluminum cookware definitely fits the bill being less expensive than copper clad or stainless steel cookware. With the anodized layer being non-reactive cooking acidic foods such as tomato based stews will not destroy the cookware’s non-stick nature.
Anodized Aluminum Cookware Pros
- It responds very quickly to heat changes on a good stove, unlike cast iron or steel pots
- Lighter than thick pans and for anyone with hand or wrist problems, or even arthritis this lightness is a huge plus.
- The two points above make them great sauce and stock pots due to their light weight and great heating characteristics
- They don’t require on going re-seasoning
- Can be as much as six to seven times cheaper than copper or stainless steel pots
- They do not retain heat very well so as an example – searing a steak can be a big problem.
- Also larger pans are prone to warping
- The anodized protective layer diminishes over time
- Unlike pots that can re-seasoned once the anodized layer is compromised the pot is rendered useless
When thinking of professional top rated cookware sets hard anodized and regular anodized ones probably won’t come to mind. However for home use they are perfectly fine and worthy of being considered good pots and pans.
Speaking of cookware sets one should always be mindful of sets versus individual pots and pans. Very often cookware sets will contain items that you may never get round to using. Also important to note is the fact that different types of materials serve different purposes.
As an example the searing and beautiful color that a steak will get in a stainless steel or cast iron skillet is simply unrivaled by any other metal. So instead of seeking out expensive top rated cookware sets you could simply opt to purchase a single stainless steel or cast iron skillet for your steaks and even omelettes and have anodized cookware for saucepans and stock pots
Photo Courtesy Pixabay.com
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