Did you know that the kitchen appliances you use can have a very big impact on your health, especially if you’re living with a chronic illness?
- Your item may release some dangerous compounds into your food.
- Your appliance may cause the breakdown and release of compounds in the packaging that contaminate your food.
Some of the appliances and items you use in your kitchen every day may be making your chronic illness symptoms worse, and you would never make the connection until someone told you (or you came across this article)!
Here are some kitchen items to avoid if you’re living with a chronic illness:
Scientific evidence has been presented to show that microwaving food is risky to human health. A report in the January/February 1990 issue of Nutrition Action Newsletter showed that common food packaging used to pack chips, popcorn, and pizza contained toxic compounds.
These compounds include xylene, benzene, toluene, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The report revealed that when fatty foods are exposed to microwaves, these compounds leach into your food.
Furthermore, microwaving damages the nutritional value of your food. When organic vegetables or other vitamin-containing foods are microwaved, the vitamins are destroyed.
The interesting thing is that many people assume that microwaving food in a ‘microwave safe’ plastic container somehow cuts down this risk. In fact, just the opposite is true!
Some plastic containers contain bisphenol-A and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which are plastic compounds known to contaminate food upon their breakdown.
(We’ll explain more about why these chemicals are dangerous a bit later in this article.)
This is the material used on the surface of non-stick frying pans and pots. These appliances are popular because they are easier to wash, and use less cooking oil (which people incorrectly assume makes them fat).
However, Teflon does not withstand heat well at all, and it releases fumes that have been shown to cause flu-like symptoms in humans.
Teflon is formulated using a compound known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This compound has also been shown to be carcinogenic (which means it increases your risk for cancer).
These compounds also get into your food when the surface of the pan is scraped and slivers get into your food.
According to a study released by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, PFOA exposure has been linked to:
- Birth Defects
- Crohn’s Disease
- Diabetes Type 1
- Low Birth Weight
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Thyroid Disease
And that’s just scratching the surface! For the full list of diseases and conditions associated with this unsafe cookware, read the full PDF here.
3) Aluminum Foil
Aluminum foil is widely used in baking and wrapping cooked food, especially grilled and roasted meats. Aluminum cookware is safe to use because the aluminum is oxidized, meaning it can withstand high heat without breaking down. However, aluminum foil is not oxidized and leaches easily into hot food.
The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported that consumption of aluminum has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
If you already struggle with neurological problems, it is definitely NOT a good idea to expose yourself to something that will only hasten your brain’s demise.
4) Plastic Containers
Plastic containers and plastic wrapping are widely used in packaging ready-to-eat meals, and storing food at home. Some plastics contain PVC and BPA, which are compounds used to make them more malleable and maintain their shape.
These compounds can also significantly worsen your chronic illness!
For example, PVC contains phthalates and dioxins, chemical compounds that have been linked to reproductive and developmental disorders. They are also known endocrine disruptors and carcinogens.
Yet another kitchen item that could cause cancer!
According to a published medical journal study, regular exposure to BPA can trigger or worsen an autoimmune condition.
From the study:
“Although inflammatory immunoglobulin reactivity may have a role to play in autoimmune expression, it is most likely part of a larger complex immune reaction that is linked to this very reactive endocrine disruptor.”
These dangerous compounds easily leach into food when the package or wrapping is heated. Acidic and salty food (which describes most fast and ready-to-eat meals) also encourage leaching of these compounds.
5) Cutting Boards
If you are regularly using your cutting board, but not washing it properly, there is a great risk that it will grow pathogens. These are bacteria that will find the ridges and bumps left by your favorite knife a very good place to hide before they strike.
Cutting boards used to prepare meat are at a greater risk of harboring these bacteria as raw meat sometimes has E.coli and salmonella. These are dangerous bacteria that are linked to serious digestive ailments, including fatal diarrhea.
If you are already living with a chronic digestive disorder, you may be more susceptible to gut infection due to exposure to these pathogens. Also, because your immune system is compromised, it may be more difficult for you to effectively get rid of an intestinal infection, leaving you vulnerable to a more serious (and perhaps irreversible) condition.
Avoid plastic cutting boards and use wooden cutting boards, which wear off instead of developing bumps and ridges. Ensure that you wash your cutting boards thoroughly with hot water every time after use.
There could be danger lurking in your kitchen. If you are using the above items, you are at risk in the short-term and the long-term.
In the next article, we’ll discuss safer kitchen items and cookware for those with a chronic illness.
For now, check out my Amazon Influencer Page to shop my favorite chronic illness products!