But most people are exposed to and ingest far more than this suggested safe daily intake. Aluminium is present in corn, yellow cheese, salt, herbs, spices and tea. It’s used in cooking utensils, as described above, as well as in pharmacological agents like antacids and antiperspirants. Aluminium sulfate, which is derived from aluminium, is used as a coagulant during the purification process of drinking water.
Scientists are exploring whether over-exposure to aluminium may be posing threats to human health. For instance, high concentrations of aluminium have been detected in the brain tissue of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists have examined the community of old people with Alzheimer’s and concluded that it is a modern disease that’s developed from altered living conditions associated with society’s industrialisation. These conditions may include high levels of aluminium in daily life.
Aluminium poses other health risks, too. Studies have suggested that high aluminium intake may be harmful to some patients with bone diseases or renal impairment. It also reduces the growth rate of human brain cells.
Avoid foil when cooking
Given all of these proven risks, it’s important to determine the aluminium concentration when cooking. Pots and other cookware tend to be oxidised, providing an inert layer that prevents the aluminium from leaching into food. The problem is that when you scrub your pots after cooking, that layer is worn away and the aluminium can seep into your food. This is easily avoided: when you get new aluminium pots, boil water in them several times until the base becomes matt. This creates a natural oxidation that prevents leaching. They may look nicer when they’re scrubbed and shiny, but a matt base is better for your food and your health.