Microwave ovens have become one of the most adaptable kitchen equipment due to their numerous features and utility. The question is: are you compromising your well-being for the conveniences this appliance offers? Let’s find out!
How Microwave Cooking Works?
We are most familiar with the microwave as an oven that heats food. Whether it’s leftover chicken from the night before or that burrito you’ve been waiting all day to eat, it will all have to take its due rounds in that little magical box!
Understanding how microwave ovens work can help clarify the answer to these common questions. 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. Microwaves cause these molecules to vibrate and quickly build up heat.
People have different theories when it comes to microwave ovens, but the main question remains the same:
Are microwave radiations harmful to the food?
Here’s the truth: Microwaves can somewhat diminish the nutritional content of some foods, but not enough to affect your health, energy, or lifespan.
Any time you cook food at high temperatures, you are losing some of the nutrients. Microwaves, however, are generally heating foods quickly and at lower temperatures, so the idea, in theory, is that it may be retaining nutrients compared to boiling, frying or baking foods.
There are some mixed results from studies evaluating the effects of microwave ovens on foods, but it appears that for the most part, foods are not losing nutrients from microwaves. This is likely because microwave ovens heat foods quickly and the foods aren’t exposed to very high temperatures, unlike boiling or frying foods.
Heating of any kind reduces the nutritional value of food. When you cook anything, part of the water evaporates, taking some of the nutrients with it.
If you would like the nutrients in your food to stay, keep the cooking duration and the quantity of water as little as possible.
Safety Tips To Using Microwave
Although considered generally safe, there are some safety tips that may reduce your exposure to microwave radiation and changes in food compounds.
1. Don’t microwave plastic containers
It’s best to avoid microwaving plastic because the compounds in these containers can leak into your food when heated. The one well known major culprits in plastic is bisphenol A (BPA), found is plastic containers, cans, and water bottles.
For a plastic container to be considered “microwave-safe,” it should not contain this chemical. To be safe, heat foods in “microwave-safe” glass or ceramic dishware instead of plastic.
2. Stand at least one foot away from the microwave
Because radiation decreases with distance, it’s best not to stand right next to the microwave or put your face up against the window.
3. Be careful when heating liquids
When you are heating liquids in a microwave, be very careful handling the bowl or cup to prevent being burned. Because bubbles generally don’t escape from liquids heated in the microwave, they may boil suddenly when moved or even explode out of the cup unexpectedly, so be cautious.
I recommend that you:
- Stir or rotate the food halfway through microwaving so any cold spot that may have been left is properly cooked. This is to kill any remaining bacteria.
- Use microwave-safe glass or ceramic dishware. Avoid thin plastic storage bags and aluminum foils.
- Stand at least one foot away from the microwave while it is on.
Please share your comments and any question you may have. We would love to hear from you!