Almost every family today home has a microwave oven in their home. The convenience and benefit that microwave offer is undeniable. But despite the widespread use of microwave today some people have big doubts that using microwaves somehow makes food less healthy and even that they are hazardous for your health. We have all heard that phrase “Microwave ovens will kill you!”. But does cooking with microwaves is really that bad?
Latest studies like that one of Harvard University prove that none of these claims are really true.
“..Understanding how microwave ovens work can help clarify the answer to this common question. Microwave ovens cook food using waves of energy that are similar to radio waves but shorter. These waves are remarkably selective, primarily affecting water and other molecules that are electrically asymmetrical — one end positively charged and the other negatively charged. Microwaves cause these molecules to vibrate and quickly build up thermal (heat) energy” source Harvard Health Publication weblink
Now whether some food will lose the quality when cooked in microwave can be a tricky question. It doesn’t matter what the heat source is, nutrients break down when they are exposed to heat. Take for example Vitamin C, but because microwave cooking times are much shorter, cooking in a microwave does a better job of preserving vitamin C and other nutrients that can break down when they are heated.
But what about microwaving food and plastic, dangerous or not?
Again another health publication from Harvard Medical University explains this question very good.
“Let’s cover the original misinformation first: The earliest missives warned that microwaved plastic releases cancer-causing chemicals called dioxins into food. The problem with that warning is that plastics don’t contain dioxins. They are created when garbage, plastics, metals, wood, and other materials are burned. As long as you don’t burn your food in a microwave, you aren’t exposing yourself to dioxins” source Harvard Medical School weblink
I know that you have all heard that microwave oven emits radiation and you can get cancer, but you should know that this is not true, in fact it is kind of a stupid thing to say. Radiation is not equal radioactive, people should know that these are different thing.
Robb-Nicholson, M.D. from the Harvard Health Review explains this very good.
“Microwaves do not cause cancer. They’re a form of non-ionizing radiation and thus cannot ionize tissue. Microwave ovens use low-frequency waves of electrical and magnetic energy to produce heat to cook food. They don’t make food radioactive, nor do they trigger cancer-causing genetic mutations.”
“Here are some things to keep in mind when using the microwave:
If you’re concerned about plastic wraps or containers in the microwave, transfer food to glass or ceramic containers labeled for use in microwave ovens.
Don’t let plastic wrap touch food during microwaving because it may melt. Wax paper, kitchen parchment paper, white paper towels, or a domed container that fits over a plate or bowl are better alternatives.
Most takeout containers, water bottles, and plastic tubs or jars made to hold margarine, yogurt, whipped topping, and foods such as cream cheese, mayonnaise, and mustard are not microwave-safe.
Microwavable takeout dinner trays are formulated for one-time use only and will say so on the package.
Old, scratched, or cracked containers, or those that have been microwaved many times, may leach out more plasticizers.
Don’t microwave plastic storage bags or plastic bags from the grocery store.
Before microwaving food, be sure to vent the container: leave the lid ajar, or lift the edge of the cover.”
source Harvard Medical School weblink