Almost every household has a microwave, they are so handy when it comes to warming up the food, defrosting your bread and meats, and even making sweet treats (will upload some recipes some time).
I have had many people telling me that microwaves are bad for you: cooking or warming up food in a microwave makes it lose more nutrients, makes it less healthy and some even claim that it can cause cancers.
Here’s how microwaves work:
Microwave ovens use waves of energy (similar to radiation but shorter) to heat up food. These waves affect water molecules, cause these molecules to vibrate rapidly and produce heat.
Do microwaves cause more nutrient loss?
Many nutrients break down when heated, especially heat sensitive nutrients like Vitamin C, omega 3 and some of the anti-oxidants. It doesn’t matter what type of cooking method you use, there will be some sort of nutrient loss. What affects nutrient loss includes the method of cooking, the length of cooking period, and the amount of water used while cooking. Studies show that the amount of water is what affects nutrient loss the most (therefore boiling vegetables causes the most nutrient loss).
When cooking vegetables in the microwave, you do not need much water if you place it in a microwave-safe container with a lid on, the cooking times in the microwave are shorter as well, and hence microwaves actually do a better job of preserving nutrients.
Can they cause cancer?
The radio waves that microwaves produce only affect water and similar molecules; they are NOT strong enough to change the chemical structure of your food, or make it radioactive, or make it carcinogenic (to cause cancer), they simply just heat the food.
Is the radiation from microwave ovens harmful to human?
If you use a microwave according to the instructions for use, it is not harmful to humans. Most of the newer microwave ovens stop producing radio waves as soon as you open it. However, if you notice that the microwave oven’s door is broken or loosened and that the door cannot be closed properly, it’s best not to use it anymore. It’s also advised not to use a really old microwave that is not functioning well. If you are still worried in case of radiation leakage, stand a few steps away from the microwave as radiation falls off quickly with distance.
Can I use microwaves to cook meats?
If the meats you want to cook in the microwave are thinly sliced, it should be fine, but if you want to cook a big piece of chicken or steak, it can be hazardous. Microwaves normally only heat to a certain depth from outside unless you want a piece of dry-out meat (ugh, no). This means if the meat isn’t cooked thoroughly, it may cause food poisoning. It’s better to use a microwave to warm up a plate of already-cooked meal, or use it to defrost the meat before you cook it.
P.S: Remember to use containers or crockeries that are safe to heat in the microwave ovens.
Xoxo Love Tammy