A microwave oven is one of the most convenient cooking equipment that cooks food fast and simple. However, many people think that it produces harmful radiation and can reduce the nutrients from the food. Thus, the question: is it safe to use?
The answer is a clear YES! Using microwaves is a safe option. Continue reading to know why.
How does a microwave oven work?
A microwave oven is a cooking tool that turns energy into electromagnetic waves, where it got its name. These waves stimulate the molecules in food, causing them to vibrate, spin and collide with each other, turning the energy into heat. The process is the same as creating heat by rubbing your hands.
The microwave mainly affects the molecules in water and can also heat sugars and fats. However, the effect is lesser on the two latter compounds.
Microwave’s radiation is not harmful
A microwave oven produces electromagnetic radiation. This may sound concerning due to the negative connotations in radiation. But the radiation from the microwave oven is not related to nuclear and atomic bomb disasters.
A microwave oven produces non-ionizing radiation, which is the same radiation from mobile phones, but way stronger. Remember that light is also a type of electromagnetic radiation, so not all radiation is harmful.
The metal shields and screens over the microwave’s oven window keep the radiation from emanating from the oven; hence, there’s no risk of overexposure. However, avoid pressing your face against the window and stay at least 1 foot away from the microwave oven to be safe from the heat.
Moreover, if your microwave gets old or broken, like the door not closing properly, consider replacing your oven.
It doesn’t harm the food’s nutrient content
Any cooking procedure reduces the food’s nutrient value. The main factors are the cooking time, method, and temperature. For instance, boiling allows the water-soluble nutrients to leak out.
When it comes to microwave oven, cooking time is way shorter, and the temperature it uses is lower. Moreover, it doesn’t normally boil the food. With that in mind, cooking food in the microwave oven keeps more nutrients than boiling or frying.
It decreases the formation of harmful compounds
Cooking in microwaves can reduce harmful compounds in some foods. Another advantage of cooking in a microwave oven is it doesn’t heat food as much as other cooking methods like frying.
Normally, the temperature doesn’t go above 100 degrees Celsius – water’s boiling point. However, fatty foods, such as bacon, can go hotter. Bacon is one of the foods that form harmful compounds known as nitrosamines once cooked.
However, it is found that heating bacon in the microwave reduces nitrosamine formation, unlike other cooking methods. It is also found that microwaved chicken formed less harmful compound than frying.
Things to remember
Many plastic containers have hormone-disrupting compounds that are harmful. One of the known harmful compounds from plastic containers is BPA or bisphenol-A. This compound is known to cause obesity, thyroid disorders, and cancer—this harmful compound leaks from plastic containers when heated.
With that in mind, do not use any plastic container when heating your food in a microwave oven if it is not labelled microwave safe.
The microwave oven is one of the most convenient, effective, and safest cooking methods. There is no proof that it can cause any harmful effects on food.
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