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Microwave Ovens And Health: To Nuke, Or Not To Nuke?
Published Sep 20, 2022 IN HEALTHY LIVING,
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 COOKING with a microwave oven is highly convenient, as it’s simple and incredibly fast.

However, many people believe that microwaves produce harmful radiation and damage healthy nutrients. Therefore, you may wonder whether it’s safe to use these appliances. This article explains whether microwave ovens affect your food quality and health.

What are microwave ovens?

Microwave ovens are kitchen appliances that turn electricity into electromagnetic waves called microwaves.

These waves can stimulate molecules in food, making them vibrate, spin around, and clash with each other — which turns the energy into heat. This is like how your hands heat up when you rub them together .Microwaves primarily affect water molecules but can also heat up fats and sugars — just to a lesser extent than water.

Can the radiation harm you?

Microwave ovens produce electromagnetic radiation.

You may find this concerning due to radiation’s negative connotations. However, this is not the type of radiation associated with atomic bombs and nuclear disasters.

Microwave ovens produce non-ionizing radiation, which is like the radiation from your cell phone — though much stronger. Keep in mind that light is also electromagnetic radiation, so clearly not all radiation is bad.

Microwave ovens have metal shields and metal screens over the window that prevent the radiation from leaving the oven, so there shouldn’t be any risk of harm.

Just to be on the safe side, don’t press your face against the window and keep your head at least 1 foot (30 cm) away from the oven. Radiation decreases rapidly with distance.

Also, make sure that your microwave oven is in good condition. If it’s old or broken — or if the door doesn’t close properly — consider getting a new one.

Effects on nutrient content

Every form of cooking reduces the nutrient value of food.

The main contributing factors are temperature, cooking time, and method. During boiling, water-soluble nutrients may leak out of the food.

As far as microwaves go, cooking times are generally short, and the temperature is low. Plus, the food is usually not boiled. For this reason, you would expect microwave ovens to retain more nutrients than methods like frying and boiling.

According to two reviews, microwaving does not reduce nutrient value more than other cooking methods.

An older study on 20 different vegetables noted that microwaving and baking preserved antioxidants the best, while pressure cooking and boiling did the worst (2Trusted Source).

However, one older study found that just 1 minute of microwaving destroyed some of the cancer-fighting compounds in garlic, while this took 45 minutes in a conventional oven.

However, a recent study showed that mild microwaving actually increased the levels of the anticarcinogenic compound sulforaphane in broccoli. Keep in mind that the type of food or nutrient sometimes matters. Microwaving breast milk has been found to be effective in preventing cytomegalovirus infections.

With a few exceptions, microwaves tend to preserve nutrients very well.

Reduces formation of harmful compounds

Microwaving may reduce the formation of harmful compounds in certain foods. One advantage of microwaving is that the food doesn’t heat up nearly as much as it does with other cooking methods, such as frying.

Usually, the temperature doesn’t surpass 212°F (100°C) — the boiling point of water.

However, fatty foods like bacon can become hotter.

Bacon is one food believed to form harmful compounds called nitrosamines when cooked. These compounds are created when nitrites in foods are heated excessively.

According to one 1989 study, heating bacon in the microwave caused the least nitrosamine formation of all cooking methods tested.

Avoid plastic containers

Many plastics contain hormone-disrupting compounds that can cause harm. A notable example is bisphenol-A (BPA), which has been linked to conditions like cancer, thyroid disorders, and obesity. When heated, these containers may leach compounds into your food.

For this reason, do not microwave your food in a plastic container unless it is labeled microwave safe.

This precaution is not specific to microwaves. Heating your food inside a plastic container is a bad idea — no matter which cooking method you use.

Heat your food properly

Microwaves do have some downsides.

For example, they may not be as effective as other cooking methods at killing bacteria and other pathogens that may lead to food poisoning.

That’s because the heat tends to be lower and the cooking time much shorter. Sometimes, food heats unevenly.

Using a microwave with a rotating turntable can spread the heat more evenly, and making sure that your food is heated sufficiently can help ensure that you kill all microorganisms.

It’s also important to be careful when heating liquids. There’s a slight possibility that overheated liquids may explode out of their container and burn you.

Never heat baby formula or any food or beverage intended for small children in a microwave due to the risk of scald burns. To reduce the risk of burns in general, mix what you microwaved or let it cool for a while.

An article written by Terry Chamberlain explains further, on quite deeper angles

In 1991, Dr. Hans Ulrich Hertel in Switzerland performed experiments with microwave ovens. He said that when a human being eats food that has been microwaved, his body furiously begins producing white blood cells as though to fight off an infection. If a person even holds a cup of microwave heated water in their hand, their bodies will do the same thing.

The following is the conclusion at the end of the article, “The Hidden Hazards of Microwave Cooking,” which can be found in our library.

1). Continually eating food processed from a microwave oven causes long term - permanent - brain damage by “shorting out” electrical impulses in the brain [de-polarizing or de-magnetizing the brain tissue].

2). The human body cannot metabolize [break down] the unknown by-products created in microwaved food.

3). Male and female hormone production is shut down and/or altered by continually eating microwaved foods.

4). The effects of microwaved food by-products are residual [long term, permanent] within the human body.

5). Minerals, vitamins, and nutrients of all microwaved food is reduced or altered so that the human body gets little or no benefit, or the human body absorbs altered compounds that cannot be broken down.

6). The minerals in vegetables are altered into cancerous free radicals when cooked in microwave ovens.

7). Microwaved foods cause stomach and intestinal cancerous growths [tumors]. This may explain the rapidly increased rate of colon cancer in the world.

8). The prolonged eating of microwaved foods causes cancerous cells to increase in human blood.

9). Continual ingestion of microwaved food causes immune system deficiencies through lymph gland and blood serum alterations.

10). Eating microwaved food causes loss of memory, concentration, emotional instability, and a decrease of intelligence.

The bottom line

Microwaves are effective, and highly convenient cooking method.

Just as other forms of cooking, there may be harmful effects to it’s use, especially as it has to do with food nutrients.

Still, you should not:

overheat or under heat your food stand too close to the microwave heat anything in a plastic container unless it’s labeled safe for use.

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