Four Reasons Why Cooking With A Cast Iron Pan Is Good for You
by Amy Ingram
Are you a southern cook looking for a durable and healthy cooking option? Look no further than the trusty cast pan, also known as a cast iron skillet. These versatile skillets have been a staple in southern kitchens for generations and are making a comeback due to their numerous health benefits.
We’ll explore four important reasons why cooking with a cast pan is good for southern cooks. From increasing the iron content in your food to improving the flavor of your dishes, we’ll highlight the key benefits of cooking with a cast iron skillet. So, whether you’re a seasoned southern cook or just starting out in the kitchen, read on to learn why a cast pan may be the perfect choice for your next southern-style meal.
Increases Iron Content In Food
One of the biggest health benefits of cooking with cast iron is the increase in iron content in your food. Iron is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in the body, supporting various functions such as oxygen transport, energy production, and immune system function.
When you cook acidic foods, such as tomato sauce or vinegar-based marinades, in a cast pan, the iron from the skillet can leach into the food. This is due to the porous nature of cast iron, which allows it to absorb and retain minerals and other nutrients.
This iron is then absorbed by the body when you consume the food, helping to boost your iron levels and combat iron deficiency. Iron deficiency is a common issue, especially among women, and can lead to a number of health problems, including anemia, fatigue, and weakened immunity.
In addition to increasing the iron content in your food, cooking with cast iron can also help your body absorb more iron. This is because the iron in cast iron is in a form that is easily absorbed by the body, known as heme iron.
By incorporating cast iron cooking into your healthy eating habits, you can help ensure that you’re getting the iron your body needs to function at its best. So, whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or just looking for a healthy way to get more iron in your diet, cooking with cast iron is a great choice.
It is important to note that, while there are potential health benefits to cooking with cast pans, they also have some drawbacks. Cast iron skillets can be heavy and difficult to handle, and they require regular seasoning to prevent rust and maintain their non-stick properties. Additionally, they are not suitable for use with acidic ingredients, as the acid can react with the iron and produce an unpleasant metallic taste in the food.
Cooking with cast iron skillets can provide some health benefits, but it is important to consider the limitations and drawbacks of this type of cookware. As with any kitchen tool, it is important to use cast iron skillets appropriately and maintain them properly in order to maximize their potential health benefits.
Antioxidant Properties Of Cast Pans
Did you know that cooking with cast pans can also boost the antioxidant content in your food? That’s right! Cast iron skillets have been shown to increase the levels of antioxidants in certain foods, like tomatoes and leafy greens, which can have numerous health benefits.
Antioxidants are substances that protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause damage to our cells. By increasing the antioxidant content in your food, you can help protect your cells from damage and reduce your risk of chronic diseases, like heart disease and cancer.
So, how does this work? When acidic foods are cooked in cast pans, the iron in the skillet can react with the antioxidants in the food, boosting their levels. This is especially true for foods that are high in antioxidants, like tomatoes and leafy greens, which can absorb the iron from the skillet.
Non-Toxic And Non-Stick
In addition to boosting the antioxidant content in your food, cooking with cast iron skillets can also help to preserve the antioxidants that are naturally present in your food. This is because cast iron skillets heat evenly and retain heat well, which helps to prevent the oxidation of the antioxidants in your food, preserving their health benefits.
Cast iron skillets are not only great for their health benefits, but also for their non-toxic and non-stick properties. Unlike traditional non-stick cookware, cast iron skillets are made without any harmful chemicals or coatings, making them a safer option for cooking and serving food.
The non-stick properties of cast iron skillets are due to the natural seasoning that builds up on the surface of the skillet over time. With proper care and maintenance, the surface of a cast iron skillet can become smooth and non-stick, allowing you to cook a variety of foods without having to worry about them sticking to the pan.
In addition to being non-toxic, cast pans are also incredibly versatile. They can be used for a variety of cooking methods, including frying, searing, and baking, making them a versatile addition to any kitchen.
On the other hand, traditional non-stick cookware is made with a chemical coating, such as PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) or PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), that can release harmful fumes when heated. These fumes can be harmful to your health and can cause respiratory problems, especially if you have asthma or other breathing issues.
In addition, these non-stick coatings can also be scratched or damaged over time, which can release harmful chemicals into your food. This is why it’s important to avoid traditional non-stick cookware, especially if you’re looking to use the healthiest practices in food preparation for your family.
The Health Benefits of Even Cooking
Cooking food evenly is important not only for taste but also for health. Overcooked or burned food can contain harmful compounds that can negatively impact your health.
When food is overcooked or burned, it can form compounds such as acrylamides and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These compounds have been shown to increase the risk of certain types of cancer, including colon, breast, and prostate cancer. In addition, HCAs can also increase the risk of heart disease and other chronic health conditions.
To prevent the formation of these harmful compounds, it’s important to cook food evenly and prevent hot spots that can cause food to burn. Cast iron skillets are known for their ability to heat evenly and retain heat well, which can help prevent hot spots and reduce the formation of harmful compounds in your food.
By using a cast pan or cast iron skillet, you can enjoy delicious and nutritious meals without having to worry about the harmful effects of overcooked or burned food. With its even heating and heat retention capabilities, a cast iron skillet is a great choice for anyone looking to make healthier food choices for themselves and their families.