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Is The Microwave Oven You Relied On All These Years Really Trustworthy?

By Shubham Ghosh

Microwave ovens are something we cannot think of living without. It is an integral part of our rush-hour lifestyle for microwaving is a simple, convenient and quick cooking option. But, despite all the advantages that it offers, is it the healthiest cooking option? Could there be possible side effects of using microwave ovens?

These questions have left a lot among us worried. How can the 'family friend' we trusted all these years be termed so unfriendly suddenly?

How Do Microwaves Work?

To know this entire problem, let's begin by understanding how microwaves work. The microwave has an electron tube called a magnetron which causes an electromagnetic radiation with a little shorter (micro) wavelength.

These microwaves vibrate the water molecules in the food, generating the heat to cook it. It is because of this reason that food items with high water content take less time to be cooked in a microwave.

Bad Effects Of Microwaving

But despite the limitations on the radiation level in the appliances, a lot of people feel the very nature of this cooking procedure is risky for our health. Here are some negative effects that microwaving is believed to leave on our health:

1. Microwaving Kills Nutrients In Food: It is said that microwaving can destroy the nutrients of your food by exposing it to heating. As the water molecules in the food rotate rapidly at a high frequency, molecular friction is created and the food is heated up. This changes the molecular structure in the food and diminishes its nutrient value.

2. Microwaving Creates Carcinogens In Food: Putting food in the microwave oven in plastic containers is extremely risky, say studies. The containers used to heat the food release carcinogens along with other toxins and they are released into the food and enter our body through consumption.

3. Microwaving Can Change Your Blood Makeup: This may sound horrible, but studies have also said that the makeup of blood changes in people who consume milk and vegetables treated with microwave. Eating too much of microwaved food can see a decrease in the red blood cells and an increase in white blood cells, along with cholesterol levels.

4. Microwaving Affects Breast Milk & Vitamins: Vitamin B12, an essential nutrient for our body, gets destroyed by about 30-40 per cent as a result of microwaving. Heating frozen breast milk in microwave oven also kills the bacteria-fighting agents in it and also leads to a high growth of E coli bacteria. Microwaving human milk at a low temperature is also not healthy.

5. Microwaving Can Change Heart Rate: The radiation emitted by microwaving can affect the heart rate and its variability. If you find yourself to be feeling very uneasy because of irregular heartbeat or chest discomfort after having microwaved foods regularly, the best way is to stop the practice.

However, there is another opinion which doesn't think microwave radiations are that harmful.

This school believes that microwave appliances indeed emit some radiation but for that matter, various other electronic gadgets that we use like laptop, mobile phones and others also emit electromagnetic radiation.

There are strict limits on the prescribed amount of leak from a microwave oven for its entire life and it is much below than that which can cause harm to human beings. The devices also come with double security systems.

But it seems years of research work have now started to establish that microwaving food indeed destroys its nutrition value and experts have started to advise reverting to the traditional ways of cooking like steaming and baking, instead of putting all your eatables inside that suspicious box and switching on the rotating tray.

Read more about: microwave effects food
Story first published: Monday, September 19, 2016, 15:30 [IST]
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