You come home at night, tired after a day’s work and put the food the in your microwave. A few minutes later, the ‘pop’ tells you the food is ready.
Simple! Microwaves have, indeed, been a boon to our fast-paced lives. Cooking food has never been easy.
From omelette to rice, from popcorn to brownie, you can prepare almost anything in a microwave. Naturally, we all fall in love with this invention.
But as we surf the internet, our happiness evaporates. Articles after articles tell you that microwaving food is harmful.
It can lead to serious diseases like cancer and kill all the nutrients present in the food, making our food nothing but a source of calorie.
This surely frightens you to the core and you decide to stop microwaving your food and go back to traditional cooking or opting for takeaways.
But before take a serious decision like this, stop! Is microwaving food really harmful? Should you believe in what anti-microwavers have to say?
Turns out all the hype against microwaving food is, well, just hype. There is little evidence to support what the naysayers rant about all the time.
Scientific knowledge and reasoning votes in favor of microwaving which means you can safely cook food in a microwave.
Debunking microwaving myths
If all that is being said by anti-microwavers is false, what then is the truth Well, here we will debunk some of the common microwaving myths.
Microwave radiation can kill you
This myth originates from the misconception that all radiations are harmful.
Equating nuclear radiation with microwave radiation is as foolish as equating barbeque smoke with smoke from a factory.
Nuclear radiation can indeed kill you. But not microwave radiation. Microwaves are a type of electromagnetic wave, quite like light, and are non-ionizing as well.
Moreover, the strength of the radiation is quite weak which means that it has no effect on the food.
Add to this the fact that microwaves prepare food in only a few minutes which is much lesser time than what is needed for electromagnetic radiation to cause any side-effect.
All these facts combined indicate that microwaving will have no ‘radiation’ effects on the food or you.
You can microwave your food without any worry.
Microwaving food destroys its nutritional content
Anyone opposed to microwaving food would say that it kills the nutrients present in food and so you do not get enough nutrition when you eat food prepared in a microwave.
However, all this hue and cry is baseless given that all forms of cooking food reduce the nutritional content of most food items.
For example, when you cook the traditional way, the food items get boiled
and baked. This causes loss of Vitamin C, Vitamin B, polyphenols, etc.
But when you microwave your food, the food usually doesn’t get boiled. Moreover, the microwaving requires less water.
So, the chances of nutrients leaking out with the water are very less. As such, microwaved food usually retains more nutrients than fried or boiled food.
However, there are a few exceptions to this. Evidence shows that garlic lost some of it cancer-combating properties when microwaved.
Flavonoid antioxidants in broccoli were lost to a greater degree when microwaved.
Apart from a few such exceptions, microwaving is a better way to cook food.
Microwaving in plastic containers makes the food toxic
Another warning that most such ‘informative’ articles carry is that when food is heated in a microwave it becomes toxic due to the release of chemicals from the plastic containers.
While it is true that all plastic containers release some amount of chemicals when used, the amount is too less cause any significant effect.
In fact, according to present safety limits, you have to consume about a 1000 times more of these chemicals than you usually do when food is prepared in a microwave to have any effect on the body.
Even if the plastic containers are repeatedly used, the amount of chemicals released is too low to cause any effect.
Cooking food in a microwave creates harmful compounds
The truth is quite the opposite. As compared to other methods of cooking, microwaving reduces the chances of formation of harmful compounds in the food.
This is because when youvmicrowave your food, the temperatures seldom exceed 100° C unlike frying and other cooking methods.
This is mainly beneficial in the preparation of bacon. Bacon, when heated excessively, produces nitrosamines (from nitrites).
Nitrosamies have serious repercussions like fatty liver disease, diabetes, obesity, cell death, DNA damage, etc. Evidence obtained from studies proves that when you microwave bacon, nitrosamines production is the least.
In a similar way, harmful compounds are less formed when you prepare chicken in a microwave than frying it.
How to minimize the risks of microwaving food?
While preparing food in a microwave is totally safe, you could take additional precaution that you stay away from some common risks.
Avoiding overcooking to ensure that foods retain as much nutrients as possible.
Before you put packaged food into a microwave, make sure that is suitable for microwaving.
Always use microwave-safe containers for cooking food.
Make sure that you heat the food properly before eating. Raw or poorly cooked food can contain harmful disease-causing microorganisms.
To ensure even distribution of heat, you can stir the food while microwaving.
Microwaving does kill contamination; so keep your food fresh.
Preparing food in a microwave isn’t harmful as many think. It is, in fact, a better choice of preparing food in many cases.
It is also simple and time-saving. That said, there are certain foods that you shouldn’t cook in a microwave; the count, however, is quite low.
So, it can be assumed that using a microwave is safe for you.
One thing that must be remembered here is that you should never microwave human milk as this will destroy the anti-bacterial properties present in the milk.
So, rest your baseless fears right now and make your life easier and simpler with a microwave.