July 21

Are Microwaves Safe? Things You Need to Know

Food, Safety


Are microwaves safe? There’s always been something just a little too easy, about using microwave ovens. It’s almost spooky how fast they heat your food. There has to be some kind of trade-off, nothings free you know. I’ve always used microwaves sparingly. I reasoned; there was no way food could get hot or cook that fast without a price. I once read that microwaving food wipes out the vitamins and nutrients in the food, rendering its nutritional value null and void. I thought this is the price you pay for the convenience of heating food so quickly. Can radiation produced by these ovens harm my family or me?

Are Microwaves Safe For The Nutrients In Your Food?

Does nuking your food ruin its nutritional value? That’s something we need to know when cooking for our families. I decided to get some answers for this weeks post. Here’s what I found out.The myth that a microwave oven destroys your dinners vitamins and minerals has been around since the countertop “space ovens” inception. That’s since the Amana Corporation first introduced the world to microwave ovens in 1967.

You actually don’t have to be very concerned about microwaves vaporizing all the healthy nourishment in your food. “There is no specific harm of microwaving with regard to nutrient levels,” says David Katz, MD, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center.

The fact is, any type of cooking can chemically change food and its nutrient content. Nutrients from veggies also leach into cooking water. Since you probably use less water when cooking in a microwave, your food might even be better off. 

Any cooking or reheating foods can diminish its nutritional value because heat degrades some vitamins. Water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin B and a group of nutrients called polyphenolics seem to be most susceptible to the degradation caused by cooking, according to Scientific American. However, there are exceptions; cooking, can increase the number of certain nutrients in certain vegetables, such as lycopene in tomatoes and carotenoid levels in carrots.  

Two ways of retaining maximum nutrition in your food are to minimize cooking time and don’t drown your veggies in water when cooking them. Cooking or warming food in a microwave accomplishes both; they shorten cooking time, and you don’t need much water.

One drawback microwaves have, is that they don’t always heat food evenly. Sometimes they leave cold pockets next to hot pockets, no pun intended. If you’re working with raw meat, this can be dangerous since it could leave harmful bacteria.

Is Radiation From Microwaves Dangerous To My Body?radioactive-43961_1280

Should you believe all the news stories telling people how dangerous Radar Ranges aka microwaves are? Can microwaves really cause cancer? And what are the real dangers of microwave cooking? First of all, microwave radiation is a form of non-ionizing radiation, which means it can’t directly break up atoms or molecules.

Microwave radiation is a form of non-ionizing radiation (meaning it can’t directly break up atoms or molecules) that lies between common radio and infrared frequencies. So it is not thought to damage DNA of living things, the way X and gamma rays do.

Source: Good Housekeeping

Non-ionizing radiation is not as dangerous as ionizing radiation.  Ionizing radiation is found in x-rays, and nuclear plants and used for cancer treatment; it can alter your DNA.

The Food and Drug Administration has strict limits on the amount of radiation that can leak from a microwave oven throughout its lifetime, and it is far below the amount known to harm people. It’s a good idea to check your microwave for loose or broken, latches or hinges. A loose latch can cause the oven to leak excess radiation. If you find any loose spots, get them repaired or toss the space oven into the trash.

It’s also true that microwave energy decreases dramatically as you move away from the source of radiation. A measurement made 20 inches from an oven would be approximately one one-hundredth of value measured at 2 inches. Good Housekeeping

Everyday Radiation Exposure

Also, keep in mind that you are exposed to radiation every day. Your laptop, cell phone and T.V. all leak radiation and I haven’t mentioned all your Wi-Fi enabled devices yet. You’ll get a dose of radiation equal to about half that of a chest x-ray, on a flight from Los Angeles to New York. However, all this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be careful around your microwave. Never lean on it or allow your kids to get right up on it when it’s in use. You know how you tell them not to sit too close to the T.V.? That goes double for the microwave.



Microwave Safe Containers

When heating up food in a microwave be sure and use a proper container, that means using one labeled microwave safe. Some plastic containers may leach chemicals into your food when they get hot. Never use Styrofoam containers. Food heats up in a microwave oven. The heat generated from the food heats up the container. Microwaves don’t heat plastic.

You can find out more from my friends at LifeHad.cker What Should and Shouldn’t I Microwave?  And if you’re concerned about this and believe me I am, you’ll want to check out the article Is Putting a Plastic Container in the Microwave Really Bad. Also, read the United States Department of Agriculture’s excellent web page on microwave safety; you can find it here.

Are microwaves safe? The bottom line is microwave ovens are an excellent way to cook nutritious food when used correctly. We harm ourselves mainly by what we choose to cook in them, salty, over-processed meals and snacks. Try using it to cook something healthy, such as fresh vegetables cooked for a short time, in a tightly sealed microwave safe bowl, with a little water. Your food will taste amazing cooked this way.

As I end my post, I’d like to leave you with a link to some surprising uses for your microwave. Have a great week, God be with you until we meet again.


Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo


cooking, microwave oven, Microwaves, safety

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