People are not always happy to see that I suggest microwaving in some recipes. There are other cooking options and, of course, people can choose to cook another way. However, I thought it important to cover this topic and clear the air so you can make your own well-informed choices.
I am astounded that you suggest a MICROWAVE option. It is a well-known FACT that microwaving not only totally destroys the nutrients and very much worse- causes many adverse health effects. Please, this is CONSTRUCTIVE criticism- do check on all the facts. However, I am looking forward to many of your recipes (as long as Microwave cooking or heating is not involved) regards.
Plant-Based Cooking Responds
There’s a lot of information on the internet stating that radiation from microwaves destroys nutrients and causes adverse health effects. But as we’ve all learned, the internet itself is not an expert or an authority. Often, it’s a wellspring of sensationalized misinformation that gets passed around as fact.
I’ve researched this topic because I wanted to make sure that using a microwave oven was safe for both my followers and me. Fortunately, the evidence from respected, scientifically-based experts has reassured me that microwaves are safe to use and don’t affect nutrient availability.
So what is the story on microwave safety and nutrition?
Is Nutrition Affected by Microwaving
Dr. Michael Greger, nutritionfacts.org, famous for his analysis of nutrition research, writes that: “Vegetables cooked in the microwave retained their antioxidant power significantly above those boiled or fried. Surprisingly, microwaved vegetables kept their healthy properties over their steamed or pressure-cooked counterparts, as well.” You can see links to several of his other videos on the topic of microwaving in this article, Microwaving.
The upshot, microwaving food preserve 97.3% of the antioxidants compared to other methods (1) so rest assured that you won’t lose nutrition if you choose to use the microwave.
Radiation from Microwaving
As to the safety of microwave ovens, it becomes more complicated.
For example, there’s the way microwave ovens are designed, They “are designed so that the microwaves are contained within the oven itself. The oven only makes microwaves when the door is shut and the oven is turned on. When microwave ovens are used according to instructions, there is no evidence that they pose a health risk to people,” as discussed in this article.
You might also wonder if microwaves can escape into your kitchen through the glass door. It turns out that microwaves have a much larger wavelength than visible light, and they can’t get past the metal mesh embedded in the glass.
So, they are safe unless, of course, if the oven is damaged.
Dr. Michael Greger’s website has several other articles related to microwaves including this one that discusses any concerns one might have related to microwave leakage.
This article, “Is Microwaving Radiation Harmful,” is insightful because it discusses what radiation is and specifically the radiation in microwaves, and how microwave radiation works.
Keep in mind that the word microwave radiation here is not the kind of radiation from uranium, plutonium, or the atomic bomb. Instead, it’s from the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) spectrum where we find visible light, UV, radio waves, and x-rays
Those EMR classifications simply depend on the frequency of the wavelength. X-rays with their tiny frequency can penetrate the skin, while radio waves have giant frequencies that can be miles in length.
No wonder it’s confusing!
Are we safe from getting cancer if we microwave?
According to the FDA, “There is little cause for concern about excess microwaves leaking from ovens unless the door hinges, latch, or seals are damaged. The FDA recommends looking at your oven carefully, and not using an oven if the door doesn’t close firmly or is bent, warped, or otherwise damaged.”
Furthermore, microwave energy drops off dramatically with distance from the source if you’re still concerned about leakage.
That’s called the inverse square law. If you double your distance from a source of EM radiation (visible light, UV, radio waves, etc.), then its energy falls by 1/4. Double the distance again, and you find 1/16 the energy.
To dive more deeply into microwave radiation, read Microwave Oven Radiation, from the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration).
Don’t Use Plastic in the Microwave
Plastic containers should not be used in a microwave oven because they can melt from the food’s heat. You really don’t want plasticizers and associated molecules in your food because they can disrupt biological processes, even at minuscule levels.
It’s Your Choice
Microwaves don’t make foods radioactive (that’s a different kind of radiation entirely). Plus, they don’t reduce a food’s nutrition or cause harm when used properly. (2)
I know people can always find support for their beliefs out there on the internet, but I hope this clears up why I feel it’s completely safe to use a microwave oven.