As I mentioned in my previous post, vacation really matters. I am really surprised to find myself with time and interest to post again! Woow!
Actually the main reason for coming back to blog posting was that – I wanted to share this information to everyone – About the healthiness of Microwave cooking!
I had microwave oven lying in kitchen useless for more than 5 years! I hardly used it and even if I used its just for re-heating purposes or boiling water for my dip-tea (and again I am not a big fan of dip-teas!). During my vacation, I happened to stay at my brother-in-laws place for 4 days and I was inspired by my co-sister to start using microwave for cooking. Maybe it was the vacation break which made me want to try something new! Whatever! 😉
So, when I came back, I right away started using my microwave for cooking vegetables. Though mine was very slow in heating (I guess it needs a service since we never used in the past 5 years), it indeed did the job and the vegetable tasted good! So, i decided to use it more often – on a daily basis! But then, my analytical brain got switched on once again and asked me “Is it really healthy to cook like this?”
Google was launched!! I searched and searched everywhere and found that almost everyone hates microwave cooking! . I found so many claiming that microwave radiations are harmful and destroys nutrients and leads to cancer! Who will not be afraid of the word cancer?
But all those blogs which claim that microwave is cancerous seem to be more biased or I would say very emotional and did not cite any references or proofs for their claims. I think they were all simply afraid of the term “microwave”.
Looking into Wikipedia was not of much help because, as usual – Wikipedia did not take any stand. But at the same time, one thing was clear – It is not proven that microwave cooking is dangerous really! Otherwise something would have been mentioned there!
Then I looked into the Hardvard Medical School’s health guide! Their explanation made more sense! And then, I moved on to FDA resources and WHO link. I believe these are more authentic sources of information with valid researches and proofs!
To summarize what I learnt from all these links:
- Microwave is just a type of radiation which will make those molecules which are polar to vibrate/oscillate more and hence heat them up. If this doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry! All I am trying to say is that microwaves heat certain type of molecules like water.
- Which means, those vegetables or food items which contain inherently more water will be heated up or cooked easily in microwave ovens.
- Microwave works faster – cooks faster than conventional ovens (Mine should have some serious problem since it took 30 mins to cook beans today when it should have taken only 10 mins)
- As mentioned in the previous points, microwave heats up pretty fast and heats by mainly heating the water molecules. Which means water or other liquids containing more water (like milk) will get heated up fairly quickly in microwave. If you keep it for long in microwave, it goes to a stage called “Super-heating” – heating beyond boiling point. Any slight disturbance to such liquid or the surface where its kept will make it spill / jump over and you might harm yourself when doing so. Such cases have been reported already. So, one should never heat water or milk in microwave for long. (This is clearly explained in FDA and WHO links)
- Microwave is not radioactive or ionizing or whatever – Its not harmful for cooking! Of course when you are exposed to microwave, water molecules in your body will oscillate and get heated up just like those in vegetables. You will get burnt! But won’t you get burns when you show your hand on the gas / electric stove? One thing to take caution here is – Make sure your microwave oven is not leaky! As mentioned in the FDA link, if you have any reason to believe that your microwave oven functions with the door open, do not use it!
- Just like any other form of cooking, microwave cooking will also destroy some of the nutrients. Its unavoidable when cooking in general.
- Microwave does not cook inside out! Its just microwave can reach more deeper and faster. So, it heats up pretty fast.
- Microwave heats a bit unevenly. This will be concern for meat lovers because, it will leave cold-spots which will be unhealthy to consume.
- Sometimes, microwaving might be healthier because microwave cooks food with less external water – which means nutrients wont get lost by leeching! Here comes the catch – There are several researches going on about nutrient leech. It mainly depends on individual vegetables. Carrots should not be steamed but Broccoli should be steamed for avoid destruction of nutrients. If you do care, Google about best mode of cooking for the particular vegetable in question (boiling / steaming / frying / microwaving).
- All those claims that say microwave is dangerous in some way or the other do not have any references or proofs. Using microwave safe containers for cooking and following manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance are important though!
Having said all those, I would still prefer my conventional style cooking because to me, that tastes much better! But I will continue using microwave as well. Because, these days I have a lot of time-crunch in the morning to complete my cooking. My current 3-burner stove is not matching up with my speed. I thought of buying an induction-stove but I think I should rather just stick with my microwave oven for that extra resource requirement – of course after the service! 😉
And, last but not the least, I really liked this blog post which resonates with my thoughts – Blog post on microwave cooking from “Digest This!”
So, do you use microwave oven for cooking? If so, whats the item that you love cooking in microwave?
If you don’t use microwave, just go through the links given in the post. You might change your mind.. Let me know what you think! Maybe I might change my mind if you are too convincing!