Microwave Ovens and Health: To Nuke, or Not to Nuke?

Cooking with a microwave oven is highly commodious, as it ’ s simple and fabulously flying. however, many people believe that microwaves produce harmful radiation and damage healthy nutrients. consequently, you may wonder whether it ’ s safe to use these appliances.

This article explains whether microwave ovens affect your food choice and health .plate of broccoli in a microwave oven share on Pinterest EasyBuy4u | Getty Images

What are microwave ovens?

Microwave ovens are kitchen appliances that turn electricity into electromagnetic waves called microwaves. These waves can stimulate molecules in food, making them vibrate, spin around, and clash with each other — which turns the energy into inflame. This is like how your hands heat up when you rub them together. Microwaves primarily affect water molecules but can besides heat up fats and sugars — barely to a lesser extent than water .

SUMMARY Microwave ovens turn electric energy into electromagnetic waves. These waves stimulate molecules in your food to heat it up .

Can the radiation harm you?

Microwave ovens produce electromagnetic radiation. You may find this concerning ascribable to radiation ’ s negative connotations. however, this is not the type of radiotherapy associated with atomic bombs and nuclear disasters. Microwave ovens produce non-ionizing radiation, which is like the radiation from your cell telephone — though much stronger. Keep in heed that light is besides electromagnetic radiation, so distinctly not all radiation is bad. Microwave ovens have metal shields and metal screens over the window that prevent the radiation from leaving the oven, so there shouldn ’ t be any risk of damage. just to be on the dependable slope, don ’ thymine press your grimace against the windowpane and keep your head at least 1 foot ( 30 centimeter ) away from the oven. radiation decreases quickly with distance. besides, make surely that your microwave oven is in good condition. If it ’ south previous or break — or if the door doesn ’ triiodothyronine airless properly — consider getting a new one .

SUMMARY Microwaves are a human body of electromagnetic radiation sickness, like the radiation from cell phones. however, microwave ovens are designed to prevent radiation sickness from escaping .

Effects on nutrient content

Every form of cooking reduces the nutrient prize of food. The main lend factors are temperature, cooking prison term, and method acting. During boiling, water-soluble nutrients may leak out of the food. a far as microwaves go, cooking times are by and large short circuit, and the temperature is low. Plus, the food is normally not boiled. For this rationality, you would expect microwave ovens to retain more nutrients than methods like frying and boil. According to two reviews, microwaving does not reduce alimentary value more than other cooking methods ( 1 ). An older study on 20 different vegetables noted that microwaving and baking preserve antioxidants the best, while pressure cook and boil did the worst ( 2 ). however, one older study found that precisely 1 moment of microwaving destroyed some of the cancer-fighting compounds in garlic, while this took 45 minutes in a conventional oven ( 3 ). however, a holocene study showed that balmy microwaving actually increased the levels of the anticarcinogenic compound sulforaphane in broccoli ( 4 ).

Keep in mind that the type of food or food sometimes matters. Microwaving summit milk has been found to be effective in preventing cytomegalovirus infections ( 5 ). With a few exceptions, microwaves tend to preserve nutrients identical well .

SUMMARY All cooking methods reduce food respect, but microwaving broadly preserves nutrients better than other methods .

Reduces formation of harmful compounds

Microwaving may reduce the formation of harmful compounds in certain foods. One advantage of microwave is that the food doesn ’ thymine estrus up about american samoa much as it does with early cooking methods, such as electrocute. normally, the temperature doesn ’ thyroxine excel 212°F ( 100°C ) — the boiling point of water. however, fatty foods like bacon can become hot. Bacon is one food believed to form harmful compounds called nitrosamines when cooked. These compounds are created when nitrites in foods are heated excessively. According to one 1989 sketch, heating bacon in the microwave caused the least nitrosamine formation of all cooking methods tested ( 6 ) .

SUMMARY Microwaving may minimize the formation of harmful compounds that can form when cooking at high heat .

Avoid plastic containers

many plastics contain hormone-disrupting compounds that can cause damage. A celebrated example is bisphenol-A ( BPA ), which has been linked to conditions like cancer, thyroid disorders, and fleshiness ( 7, 8 ). When heated, these containers may leach compounds into your food. For this cause, do not microwave your food in a formative container unless it is labeled microwave dependable. This precaution is not specific to microwaves. Heating your food inside a plastic container is a bad estimate — no matter which cooking method you use .

SUMMARY many plastics contain hormone-disrupting compounds like BPA, which can contaminate your food when heated. Never microwave a fictile container unless it ’ s specifically labeled dependable to use .

Heat your food properly

Microwaves do have some downsides. For case, they may not be a effective as other cooking methods at killing bacteria and early pathogens that may lead to food poison. That ’ mho because the heat tends to be lower and the cooking time a lot short. sometimes, food heats raggedly. Using a microwave with a rotating turntable can spread the estrus more evenly, and making sure that your food is heated sufficiently can help ensure that you kill all microorganisms. It ’ south besides crucial to be careful when heating liquids. There ’ s a little possibility that overheated liquids may explode out of their container and burn you. never heating system child recipe or any food or beverage intended for little children in a microwave due to the risk of scald burns. To reduce the risk of burns in general, mix what you microwaved or let it cool for a while ( 9 ) .

SUMMARY If you microwave your food, make surely it ’ south evenly heated to reduce your hazard of food poison. besides, be careful when heating water above boiling steer as it can erupt out of the container and tan you .

The bottom line

Microwaves are a safe, effective, and highly convenient cook method. There is no evidence that they cause harm — and some tell that they are even better than early cooking methods at preserving nutrients and preventing the formation of harmful compounds. however, you should not :

  • overheat or underheat your food
  • stand too close to the microwave
  • heat anything in a plastic container unless it’s labeled safe for use