COOKING WITH CAST IRON
Cast-iron skillets may seem like an old-fashioned choice in the kitchen. But this dependable cookware is a must in the modern kitchen. Cast-iron skillets conduct heat beautifully, go from stove top to oven with no problem and last for decades.
Nutritional Benefits of Cooking with Cast Iron
Cooking in a cast-iron skillet or pan basically gives you an iron supplement cooked right into your food. That’s especially beneficial for pregnant or menstruating women (who are most likely to need some extra iron), vegetarians, or people who just don’t eat a lot of red meat.
This study found that the effect was especially big for…
- Acidic foods (think tomatoes, lemon or other citrus, anything with vinegar)
- Dishes with a lot of moisture.
- Dishes cooked for a long time.
This study also found that the cast-iron cookware released more iron with each cooking cycle. So the longer you use the pot, the more valuable it is, as a supplement.
The benefits are pretty significant. Just to take one example, this study looked at premature babies (premature babies are one of the highest-risk groups for iron deficiency). For 8 months, the babies got food cooked either in cast-iron or in aluminum pots. At the end of the study, the iron group was doing significantly better for iron status than the aluminum group, although they were still deficient (so the iron was a useful supplement but not enough to meet the babies’ entire iron needs).
It’s also worth noting for the curious that cast iron isn’t actually the only kind of cookware that can give you an iron supplement. Soapstone does it too. It’s just that cast iron is a lot more common.
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