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Should You Cook with Aluminum Foil?

By Sara Butler

You probably have a whole Pinterest board filled with recipes that cook cute little meals in pockets of aluminum foil on your grill. It’s an attractive proposition since it saves time and creates less mess because you can just toss that aluminum foil in the trash when you’re done. But have you ever stopped to think about if it’s safe? There are some very real health concerns to consider when cooking with aluminum foil. Here are some of the risks you need to know about.

Aluminum is Natural, Right?

Aluminum is a metal found in abundance naturally. It can be found in rocks, soil, and clay – and it’s also found in small amounts in the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the food you eat. It can naturally be found in foods such as mushrooms, tea, spinach, fish, grains, and even dairy products. Processed foods also add a little aluminum to the foods you eat in the form of coloring, preservatives, thickeners, and anti-caking agents.

Even with all this naturally-occurring aluminum in the world, what you actually ingest isn’t that much and isn’t considered dangerous, since little of what you eat is actually absorbed. If you’re healthy, your body will expel excess aluminum in your waste, and it won’t build up.

Cooking with Foil

While there is naturally-occurring aluminum in food, studies have shown that cooking with foil can increase the amount of aluminum your food contains. This is influenced by:

  • Type of food – Some foods will increase absorption of aluminum, such as acidic foods.
  • Temperature – Higher temperatures can cause aluminum to leach into food.
  • Some ingredients – Cooking with spices and salt can also absorb aluminum.

Health Risks

What are the dangers of too much aluminum to your health? Aluminum has been linked to:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Of course, the links between aluminum and these health conditions hasn’t been proven. Aluminum may just be one of several contributing factors to these issues.

How to Minimize Risk

You can’t completely remove aluminum from your diet, but you can work to reduce your exposure to it. You can do this by:

  • Avoid cooking at high temperatures – Cook foods at lower temperatures.
  • Use non-aluminum cooking utensils – Avoid pots, pans, and utensils made of aluminum, especially if you’re cooking with highly acidic foods.
  • Use less foil – Don’t use so much aluminum foil in your cooking.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.

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