Tuesday , 23 July 2024
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Is Microwave Cooking Healthy?

First- how does a microwave work? Most microwave ovens direct microwaves at the food at a frequency of 2.45 gigahertz (GHz) which represents a wavelength of 12.24 centimetres.

Molecules in the food, mostly H2O (water), absorb energy from the waves through dielectric heating. That means that because the water molecules have both a positive end and negative end, they begin to vibrate/rotate rapidly as the alternating electric field passes through them. That agitation of the water molecules creates heat, and it is that heat that warms and then cooks the food.


This heat that cooks, is the same heat that is generated when food is heated on a hob, or in an oven, or in water that boils vegetables. That heat does destroy some nutrients in the food, whether generated by hob, boiling water, microwave or oven. But because the microwave works so quickly, and the heat is so efficient (heating the food from within rather than the air and water around it) that there is less chance of bacteria developing during the heating process.

It is also certain that microwave steam cooking of vegetables retains more nutrients in the food than boiling them on the hob. Folic acid, Vitamin B, and Vitamin C are heat sensitive and water soluble and so most prone to degradation from heat but a Cornell University study found that microwave cooking preserved more of some nutrients than regular cooking. Also, nitrosamines which are cancer causing and found in cooked bacon are reduced when bacon is microwaved.

There are unproven allegations that microwaves can polarize molecules causing the formation of new compounds and “free radicals” that when eaten may be cancer causing.  But nothing has been indicated from countless tests. The conclusion of any rational person must be that there are no known dangers from microwaving food to date.  Certainly no additional dangers beyond other types of cooking anyway.

If vegetables are boiled in a pot of water, the nutrients in the water are lost. When you cook vegetables in the microwave, only add two tablespoons of water, cover them and steam them. Virtually no nutrients are lost

The only other concern about microwave cooking is that the microwaves, a form of energy, could damage humans. All microwaves that are manufactured and sold today have to ,pass stringent tests to make sure that no microwaves escape during cooking, and that when the door is opened, the microwaves instantly cease. Panasonic microwaves do not hang about in the food, or air in a microwave. Once the power is stopped the microwaves stop. The heat generated through the agitation of the water molecules continues, so it’s always best to leave food to stand for a minute or two to continue cooking, and to let the plate cool down a little.

In fact the only real danger to your health is when taking hot food and liquids from the microwave. Spillages can cause burns, so it’s always best to leave the food or drink for a minute or so, and then use an oven glove or cloth to remove it from the microwave.

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