I was asked recently whether microwaving food had a detrimental effect on the nutritional value of food.
There is an interesting article by Precision Nutrition on this subject and you can read it here:
But, in a nutshell, no!
In fact, in some cases, preparing food in a microwave might actually preserve more of the nutrients.
Nutrients are lost from food during any form of cooking, especially when the food is cooked for a long period of time with high amounts of water.
For example, vitamin C is both water and heat soluble, so boiling vegetables in water will destroy it.
Frozen vegetables are frozen fast to preserve the nutrients and cooking them quickly in the microwave could well be the best way!
‘Living from the microwave’ does have negative connotations for a lot of us;
We feel we should be cooking everything from scratch and may see ready meals as a cop out.
Remember though, a lower calorie ready meal is far better than a high calorie take away!
Try to view everything on a scale:
- Overall Nutritional Value
- Time Available For Preparation
Yes, we have more control over the calories and nutrition if we can make the food ourselves.
But, when we are short of time, a ready meal and a pile of frozen veggies is a great alternative.
Is the radiation from the microwave harmful to us?
Exposure to radiation is highest within 2 inches of the microwave – so don’t stand peering inside trying to hurry it along!
Bear in mind though that the radiation we are exposed to from microwaves is less than from cell phones.
If we only had to think about radiation from microwaves, it wouldn’t be anything to worry about, but it is the total exposure that is a possible concern.
We absorb EM radiation from power lines, cell phones, aeroplane flights, computers, fridges, and so forth.
There is growing evidence that effects of radiation add up over time and could be linked to the growth in cancers.
There is no reliable research or data that shows any direct impact on health from microwaves.
“We don’t have a solid position on the possible health risks from exposure to microwaves due to inconclusive research. The real question remains whether there could be cumulative effects.”
–Norbert Hankin of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Center for Science and Risk Assessment
For safe use of your microwave, always use products marked ‘safe for microwaves’.
Some plastics release toxins and other nasties into food when heated. Glass is the safest thing to use.
Always ensure that your food is cooked (or reheated) all the way through.
Microwaves heat unevenly so, to avoid food poisoning, always stir and check!
- Don’t heat food in plastic.
- Make sure food is properly hot! (At least 72c)
- Cover food to help ensure uniform cooking.
- Allow the food to sit a few minutes after microwaving.
- Microwave food only as long as necessary, with little to no cooking water.
- Keep the microwave out of high traffic areas.