The Unexpected Health Benefit Of Cooking With Cast Iron Pans

By Elise Phillips Margulis | 7 October 2021 2034 views
are cast iron pans good for you

If You Are Low In Iron… Cooking With Cast Iron Can Help You Get The Iron Your Body Needs

The Unexpected Health Benefit Of Cooking With Cast Iron Pans

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Iron is an essential mineral because it is necessary to produce hemoglobin—a part of blood cells. It’s PRETTY important! 

How do you know if you’re getting enough iron? A simple blood test will tell you.

If you’re tired all the time (who isn’t?!)… pale… or bruise easily… you might have an iron deficiency. Using cast iron pans can help you naturally increase your iron consumption.

Ten million people in the United States have an iron deficiency. But you don’t have to be iron deficient to benefit from cast iron pots and pans.

It takes a great deal of preparation, time, and effort to eat enough healthy foods each day to consume all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Cooking with cast iron pans can perhaps give you one less supplement to swallow.

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Simply cooking your food in a cast iron pan allows some of the iron to transfer to your food. And that’s a good thing!

Vegetarians and vegans may especially benefit from this automatic iron boost… because they miss out on the iron in meat. However, some vegetables, lentils, and many nuts also contain a great deal of iron.

Here are some foods that are rich in iron:

  • Beef/chicken liver
  • Clams, mussels, and oysters
  • Meats like beef, chicken, turkey, and ham
  • Fish like halibut, haddock, salmon, sardines, and tuna
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Split peas
  • Nuts like peanuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and cashews
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Raisons
  • Peaches
  • Prunes
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Brown or enriched rice
  • Spinach
  • Quinoa
  • Soybeans and tofu
The Unexpected Health Benefit Of Cooking With Cast Iron Pans

The History Of Cast Iron Pans

Cast iron pans date back to the fourth century B.C. in China. This is when they first began using iron to make weapons.

They then ventured into using iron to make cooking pans and other products. The U.S. started producing iron products in 1619.

The word “cast” comes from heating the iron and pouring it into a cast (mold) of a pan.

Benefits Of Cooking With Cast Iron Pans

1) Cast iron is very resilient.

Some other types of pans, however, are not. Teflon, for instance, is easily scraped by a metal spatula. This can cause its chemical coating to be absorbed into the food. Yuck!

2) Cast iron skillets and other iron products have been known to last for over 100 years! You’ll definitely get your money’s worth… as your cast iron pan will probably outlive you.

3)  If you need more iron in your diet, you can ingest some in every meal you cook. Ingenious!

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4) Cast iron is easy to cook on because it can go from stovetop to oven. This is because it can sustain high temperatures for a long time.

Also, cast iron doesn’t transfer chemicals to food like Teflon and some other types of pans. 

5) You can serve food right in the pan.

Helpful hint: Thick potholders are helpful because iron heats up to 400 degrees. 

6) Preheating the pan enables fast cooking of meat. Whatever you put in the pan will cook fast and well.

The Unexpected Health Benefit Of Cooking With Cast Iron Pans

How To Care For Your Cast Iron Pan

1)  When you first purchase a cast iron pan, you need to “season” it before use.

That means putting oil (or fats) in the pan and baking it in the oven for an hour. The oil and metal combine to produce a non-stick surface.

When you buy your cast iron pan, it will likely come with specific instructions for seasoning it.

2) Do not use dish detergent on cast iron pans!

Simply soak the pan with water if the residual food can’t be easily scraped off. Then use a soft brush to gently remove remnants.

Each time you clean the pan, you should also rub oil on it. This leaves it conditioned for its next use.

How To Choose A Cast Iron Skillet

1) Start lifting weights… because these pans are heavy! The heavier the cast iron pan, the better it is at holding heat.

Make sure you can lift the pan and carry it around your kitchen… and maybe into the dining room.

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2) If you don’t want to suffer third-degree burns on your hands… you should check that the handles don’t get burning hot.

Also, double handles make the pan easier to maneuver on the stove and to carry to the table.

3) Cast iron pans can be less expensive than modern pans… yet can still be rather pricey. If you only need a small pan, it could be just $25.

However, since cast iron pans are so durable… they are likely to last a really long time (a lifetime!). So if you invest in a more expensive set, your children and grandchildren can use the pans for years to come.

The Unexpected Health Benefit Of Cooking With Cast Iron Pans

Disadvantages Of Cooking With Cast Iron

Like I mentioned, about 10 million Americans have an iron deficiency. This means all of these people would really benefit from some added iron from cooking with a cast iron pan.

However… there are some situations in which too much iron is a bad thing.

1) Children three years old and younger do not need much iron.

Don’t use a cast iron to cook for them… or else they could be at risk for Pediatric Iron Toxicity. This can be identified by diarrhea, nausea, and hemorrhaging.

2) Some people (1 million in the U.S.) suffer from hemochromatosis. This is iron overload disease. It’s a hereditary metabolic disorder.

If you have hemochromatosis, you often suffer from stomach pain… joint pain… heart palpitations… and fatigue.

Women will stop menstruating and men will become impotent if they have hemochromatosis and consume too much iron. Yikes!

So if you have hemochromatosis, you don’t need the extra iron from cooking with cast iron. Feel free to use another type of pan. 🙂

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3) Food absorbing iron from your cast iron skillet can propel you into excess iron intake if you eat a lot of foods that contain iron.

If your diet consists of many portions of red meat, leafy greens, beans, and the other iron-rich foods mentioned earlier… you might not want to use cast iron. Too much iron can increase your risk for cancer, heart disease, and accelerating aging.

However, most people are not at risk for consuming too much iron. If you are concerned that you might be eating too much iron, check with your doctor.

4) If you use your cast iron pan to deep-fry, it could make food rancid. That’s because iron makes fat oxidize quickly.

In addition to shocking your taste buds with a horrific taste… rancid food has harmful bacteria. This can cause diarrhea, stomach pains, and vomiting.

While cast iron pans are great for many types of recipes and cooking, don’t use them to deep-fry foods.

**

Most people need a great deal of iron in their diet. Cooking with a cast iron pan is an easy way to add to your iron consumption!

Happy cooking!

 

are cast iron pans good for you

3 Easy, Small Things You Can Start Doing Today To Lose More Weight

This simple switch to cast iron can potentially have a BIG impact on your health… 

So it got me thinking: Are there OTHER tiny little “tweaks” you can make that can really make you healthier, give you more energy, and boost your metabolism?

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