fine particulate matter baking and roasting

The impact of fine particulate matter in baking and roasting

24 October 2023

Baking and roasting have been essential cooking techniques for centuries, producing delicious dishes. Since the Paleolithic era, people have been baking with fire at high temperatures. But did you know that this also brings about a less pleasant byproduct? This refers to fine particulate matter, small particles released during baking and roasting. While fine particulate matter are often associated with outdoor air pollution, we cannot ignore their impact on indoor air quality in our own homes. In this blog, we will examine the production of fine particulate matter during baking and roasting and explore ways to protect our health.

What is fine particulate matter?

Fine particulate matter refers to small particles that float in the air. They are characterized by their small size, usually less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5). These particles can come from various sources, including combustion. When baking and roasting, fine particulate matter is mainly generated by heating oils and fats, as well as roasting meats and other ingredients. Although fine matter from baking and roasting is not as widespread as outdoor air pollution, it can still pose significant health risks. So, how does fine particulate matter affect the body? The small particles can easily enter our lungs, and when we breathe in the polluted air, this can cause problems.

Baking & roasting at high temperatures

Baking and roasting at high temperatures can produce harmful substances such as acrylamide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Acrylamide is formed when starchy foods, like potatoes and grains, are heated above 120°C. PAHs are formed by the burning of fats and juices dripping onto hot surfaces. These harmful substances have been linked to various health problems. In addition, baking and roasting at too high a temperature can lead to the loss of nutrients in food. Heat-sensitive vitamins, such as vitamin C and B vitamins, can break down when exposed to high temperatures. Lastly, baking and roasting at high temperatures can cause fats and oils to smoke. This smoking process can lead to the formation of dangerous fumes, which can damage the respiratory system.

The pan matters as well

The quality of the pan significantly impacts the safety of the baking process. Poor-quality pans are not good for your health. When using a low-quality pan, you risk harmful substances entering your food during baking. This is because cheaper pans may not be heat-resistant with all materials and can release chemical substances. Therefore, when it comes to baking and roasting, it's important to invest in quality pans that are safe for high-temperature use. Think of materials like stainless steel or cast iron. These materials can better withstand high temperatures and often last longer. If you still decide to purchase a cheaper pan, it's essential to always follow the instructions and maintenance provided on the pan.

Effective ventilation removes fine particulate matter

Effective ventilation is also essential. There are special air filters, such as HEPA filters (High-Efficiency Particulate Air), capable of effectively removing small particles like fine matter. By placing an air purifier with a HEPA filter in the kitchen, the concentration of fine particulate matter can be significantly reduced, improving air quality.

The AIP lifestyle as a defense against fine particulate matter in baking and roasting

The Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet focuses on reducing inflammation and promoting a healthy immune system. Read more about the origin and purpose of this diet here. The diet emphasizes the consumption of unprocessed foods with high-quality nutrients. The AIP lifestyle also emphasizes sleep, relaxation, exercise, and avoiding products that may contain harmful substances, such as poor-quality pans. Read more about the relationship between sleep and nutrition here. Harmful substances can form during baking and roasting, so it's important to be aware of potential risks.

The AIP diet encourages the use of healthy fats, such as coconut oil or olive oil, because they have a higher smoke point and are less likely to oxidize and produce harmful substances. Be careful though that you're not allergic to histamine, a substance commonly found in foods. Read more about this in this article. You can also use steam ovens, air fryers, or other modern cooking techniques instead of baking and roasting to reduce the amount of fine matter released. Additionally, it's crucial to keep the kitchen clean and reduce harmful fumes through proper ventilation.

Healthy fats against fine particulate matter

In summary, your health is a priority, even when baking and roasting. By using healthy fats, preventing combustion, and ensuring good ventilation, you can create AIP recipes in a clean kitchen, leading to improved mental and physical well-being. For more information on the AIP lifestyle or recipes for baking and roasting, purchase our meal plan online.