Cast iron cookware is an old-fashioned favorite for a reason—not only is it super durable, but it’s also one of the safest options out there because it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals that could leach into food. In fact, the one “ingredient” that may find its way into your meal (hint: it’s in the name!) may actually be of benefit: These pans may add a bit of extra iron to whatever you’re cooking, though no one knows exactly how much. Another bonus: Cast iron is naturally nonstick once it’s “seasoned” properly with oil, so it requires very little cooking oil or butter, slashing your fat intake. Be aware that there are some foods you should never cook in cast iron, though.
Titanium cookware sets are fairly pricey, but they’re one of the safer nonstick varieties available. “Titanium is a safe metal,” says Robert Brown, MD, author of the book Toxic Home/Conscious Home: A Mindful Approach to Wellness at Home. “The nonstick surface may be derived from silicone, a nonporous ceramic coating, titanium, or a combination.”
If you prefer to cook with aluminum pots and pans, be sure it’s a version that specifies that it’s “anodized.” “Anodized cookware has a thin layer of aluminum oxide on its surface that makes it more durable and less likely to flake off and corrode, making it the safest aluminum option,” says Dr. Brown. Non-anodized aluminum products pose the risk of introducing trace amounts of aluminum into food, which you shouldn’t do—it’s one of the cooking mistakes that can make your food toxic.