Should You Get Rid Of Your Microwave Oven?
Microwaves are a staple in almost every household of most developed countries. They have become such a feature of our lives that we even expect them in hotel rooms when we travel. While all types of cooking can alter the chemical state of food products, health experts have expressed some concern about the particular way microwave transforms our food.
Is it time to give up the conveniences provided by our dear microwaves and say goodbye to greasy cheesy microwave popcorn forever?
- How Does A Microwave Cook Food
There is a magnetron within each microwave. A magnetron is a contraption that generates high powered radio waves called (surprise) microwaves. The magnetron blasts these waves onto your food while it slowly turns around on a turntable for even heating. Unlike conventional ovens that simply heat the food from the outside, microwaves actually penetrate your food up to the electron level, making the atoms in your food vibrate rapidly and create heat. The rapid vibrations, in effect hasten the cooking process.
- Reasons To Get Rid Of Microwave Ovens
Several scientists have argued that microwaves can do irreversible damage to the food products we eat and therefore cause unnecessary damage to us via microwave altered food.
Below are some of the ways in which microwaves are putting our health in danger:
1. Dramatically Decreases Nutrition In Food
Recent studies have shown that microwaves can reduce nutrition in food by anywhere between 5-40% depending on how the food has been cooked in the microwave.
Foods like garlic and broccoli seem to lose most if not all of the active ingredients that make them so nutritious whenever they are heated in microwaves. Only a minute in a microwave is able to deactivate alliinase, a compound found in garlic that is responsible for its cancer fighting properties. When it comes to broccoli, cooking it in a microwave with a little bit of water resulted to it losing up to 97% of its antioxidants.
By comparison, steaming broccoli eradicates only 11% of these antioxidants at worst.
2. Can Decrease Vitamin B12 Content In Raw Meat And Milk
Many of us defrost our meat in microwaves. First of all, it is not very hygienic to be leaving a hunk of meat on your kitchen counter while you go to the office. Secondly, the microwave defrosts meat in less than 15 minutes.
It might seem like a good idea, considering the benefits, but scientists have found that microwaving meat can greatly reduce its vitamin B12 content. Vitamin B12 keeps your nerves and blood cells healthy. A deficiency in this vitamin is said to be one of the major causes of fatigue.
The same applies for when you are warming up breast milk in a microwave. Because vitamin B12 is important for nerve development it is something your baby, whose brain is still rapidly developing, really needs. Do you want your infant to have a vitamin B12 deficiency?
What’s more, heating breast milk in the microwave greatly reduces lysozyme activity. Lysozymes are enzymes that break down cell walls of certain bacteria. A decrease in lysozyme activity in microwaved milk has been linked to increased growth of E. coli bacteria in breast milk as compared to milk that has not been microwaved.
3. Microwaving Can Cause Carcinogens To Be Transferred To Your Food
This has got to be one of the most alarming things that microwave can do to your food. Essentially, your microwave can take something that is naturally healthy for your, like vegetables, and then turn them into carcinogens.
Food that is frozen and meant to be microwaved, like TV dinners, is typically packed in Styrofoam or plastic containers. When you heat food like this, carcinogens such as BPAs, benzene, toluene, xylene and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) can be transferred to your food.
These chemicals are called plasticizers and are known endocrine disruptors. They can mimic the shape of hormones such as estrogen and wreak havoc on your endocrine system.
- Do This Instead
By now it should be clear to you that microwaves should be a no-no in your household.
But it’s so convenient, you argue. Not really, if you think about how much money you’re going to have to spend when you or your family members get sick. Instead of using a microwave oven, reheat leftover pizza using a toaster oven and warm your casserole using your regular oven. When reheating frozen soup, just transfer the block onto a sauce pan, pour a little bit of water, and put over low heat to melt.
Sure it’s going to take more time but is cancer really a price you’re willing to pay for convenience? – It frightens me that most people probably are.