Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cast iron addendum

I just read an article praising cast iron cookware, which is a good thing. It talked about the durability and even heating of cast iron, which I was thrilled to see after reading the ill-informed bashing the Consumer Reports site gave it.

However, it then went on to say that cast iron also imparts iron into the food cooked in it, and said this was a good thing because we need iron to make red blood cells.

Well... We do use iron to make red blood cells. This much is true. However, since most of us are not anemic, and make red blood cells just fine, iron is not something we need to worry about supplementing. Women tend to use it more than men, because, of course, women need to regularly replace blood. But, most of us seem to get plenty of it from the food we eat without even having to think about it. We get it from plants and from meat, and some of us even get it in the water we drink.

However, an excess of iron in the diet can be a problem. Excess iron is not something that simply gets flushed out of the body like other water or fat soluble vitamins and minerals. Iron hangs around, and where it hangs around is in your liver, heart and endocrine glands. Where it basically acts like a bunch of iron filings that are being pushed against the surface of meat. Ever been filing a piece of metal, and gotten a sliver of it that was so tiny it was invisible to the naked eye stuck into the end of your finger? If not, ask someone who does that sort of thing. It can be quite painful and annoying. And that's just one little sliver.

Okay, I hope I don't have to paint a picture for you, aside from telling you that too much iron in your diet is a bad thing. Not "can be," or "might be," but IS.

And speaking of pictures, my friend Jack tells me there should always be pictures visible, and never just text. However, since I am currently writing about internal organs, and what is more, distressed internal organs, I rather think I will forgo the pictures at this point. I'm also rather hoping my readers will actually be readers. From what I gather, many blog readers don't much like reading, which is something I find a bit perplexing.

At any rate, before you run screaming in terror from your cast iron cookware, remember this: I told you how to season it. Seasoning your cast iron puts a coating on it which insulates the food from the cast iron, and vice-versa. And the more you (properly) use it, the thicker that coating gets. And that coating is a lot tougher than paint.

So, neither will you supplement the iron in your diet by using seasoned cast iron cookware, or have to worry about it. :)

I have to wonder, however, how many people died of liver disorders as a result of the Geritol commercials I used to see back in the sixties.

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