The microwave is perhaps the most commonly seen appliance in United States kitchens, but in the recent years it has also become a topic of controversy. I believe in constantly evolving and improving how we do things, so it is only natural for me to ask the question of how safe microwaves are for our bodies and our food.
Without a doubt the microwave is the most convenient way to instantly heat leftovers or even prepare a meal. People use their microwave for a variety of reasons, but how often do we wonder if this magical heating device could be actually doing us harm? Let’s begin by examining the effect of the microwave on the molecular structure of food. You probably took a great deal of time to shop for food and to prepare a nutritious meal. If you were to reheat this dinner in the microwave later, does the food lose its health benefits? Studies suggest that it does. Despite selecting top quality ingredients, you are destroying most of the nutritional value when you microwave. A 2003 study confirmed that microwaved broccoli lost up to 97 percent of the antioxidants it contains. They also steam cooked the broccoli which resulted in only a 11 percent loss of antioxidants. In other cases, microwaving garlic deactivated it’s cancer fighting active ingredients. Microwaved breast milk loses it’s antibodies and instead promotes growth of undesirable bacteria. Scientifically proven examples don’t end there. A study done on rodents showed how rats that ate microwaved food had lower levels of hemoglobin and white blood cells.
What about the microwave rays effect on our surroundings? A microwave operates by creating ionization by means of radiation. Magnetic fields occur all around the microwave. The radiation can leak out if the microwave door does not fit well or is slightly damaged. Your old microwave might still be functioning adequately but leaking dangerous rays because of a worn out door. Don’t forget about the dangers of plastics leaking into the food after being heated up.
The microwave is a device that is used by almost everyone. Many people are convinced by the safety reports published by appliance manufacturers, but I feel like more research and more time needs to pass before we know the true long term effects of microwaves in our households. The levels of radiation are supposedly safe but it is up to you if you want to continue using a radiation-producing device. Call me a conspiracy theorist or paranoid, but from my experience, pan frying on medium heat has been the most effective way to reheating food. Also by using stable saturated fat sources like butter and/or coconut oil, we provide ourselves with essential fatty acids. It may take a little more time to warm leftovers on the stove but it will taste better for sure, as well as the whole nutrient retention problem that microwaves present.
What can I do with the empty space where my microwave used to be? I converted it to a little work station and extra storage. I have never missed having a microwave and will continue to heat my food in a conventional way that’s proven to be safe.