Acidic foods and spices stored in aluminum containers or used alongside the metal during cooking speed up the leaching process.
In fact, Dr. Essam Zubaidy, a chemical engineering researcher at the American University of Sharjah, discovered that just one meal cooked with tin foil can leach 400 mg of aluminum (5).
“The higher the temperature, the more the leaching. Foil is not suitable for cooking and is not suitable for using with vegetables like tomatoes, citrus juice or spices,” said Dr. Zubaidy.
However, the World Health Organization warns that the daily maximum safe ingestion level should not exceed 1 mg/kg of body weight (6).
What You Can Do
You can’t completely cut your aluminum intake if you eat processed foods, eat at restaurants, or live near industrial factories.
Produce and tap water also contain alarming levels of the metal.
Here are a few things you can do to limit your exposure:
- Don’t cook food with aluminum foil. Instead, use porcelain or cast iron bakeware.
- Don’t store any spices or acidic foods in aluminum.
- Replace aluminum foil with wax paper when baking or storing hot foods.
- Store leftovers in glass reusable containers.
- Replace aluminum pots and pans as well as cooking utensils with stainless steel.
- Filter tap water to remove any heavy metals.