2 dieticians reveal the right way to use microwave to cook food

Updated on: 30 June 2022, 13:19 pm IST

We cannot outrun technology and cooking food in the microwave is one such thing. However, you need to avoid these cooking mistakes.

Shifa Khan
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cooking food in the microwave
Have you been using your microwave wrong? Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Do you believe heating food in the microwave can be life-threatening? If not this, you must have heard that cooking food in the microwave can cause cancer. Well, let us clear some facts here.

Reheating food in the microwave is the new normal. We often get takeaways from restaurants and heat them up later at night to calm down our hunger pangs. Guilty, huh? But, will the food we eat become cancerous or dangerous for one’s health if heated in a microwave?

To understand this we spoke to two dietitians, Kajal Wattamwar and Bushra Qureshi, Co-founder of Healthy Steady Go, who explained how microwave radiations are different from the other kind. In addition, they also listed the correct way of using a microwave oven to avoid any health concerns.

Let’s understand the 2 different types of radiations:

1. Ionizing radiations

They are found in X-rays, Gamma rays and even UV rays from the sun. These radiations can damage cell DNA which can possibly lead to cancer on overexposure.

2. Non-Ionizing radiations

These are the ones found in microwave heating. They only make the food particles vibrate which generates heat.

This means heating your food in a microwave is not going to make it poisonous or harm you. Phew! That’s a respite.

Listed below are necessary precautions for cooking food in microwave:

1. Clean spilled food in your microwave

Cockroaches are immune to radiation. Leaving food matter lying around in your oven can create a carnival for the cockroaches to settle and reproduce. Not to forget, that they can also invade your food vessels leaving their dung as well as bacteria like salmonella.

causes of cancer
Don’t leave food crumbs in your microwave to prevent pest infestation. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Sealed tight door

These radiations may not be threatening to your food products, but when released in the air in significant amounts, can be damaging for humans in the long run. So also make sure that the doors of your microwave are sealed shut with a good rubber protection, so as to prevent radiation leaks.

3. Faraday mesh

“A Faraday cage or Faraday mesh is the black mesh-like enclosure used to block electromagnetic fields. When buying a microwave, make sure your microwave lid is well protected with this shield. Appearance has now overpowered safety. The good looking transparent glass on the door of your microwave, can actually be leaking radiation,” Wattamwar told HealthShots.

4. Avoid close contact

It would be beneficial if you could move out of the kitchen when the microwave is in use, so as to prevent any unnecessary exposure.

5. Never use plastic containers

“Always opt for glass containers that are microwave safe instead of plastic as they have a tendency to release harmful chemicals like BPA and phthalates. These chemicals have shown to disrupt normal human functioning, especially in women creating hormonal imbalances.” says Qureshi.

side effects of momos
Stick to microwave safe containers when cooking food in the microwave. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Do nutrients get lost while cooking food in the microwave?

Yes, there is some nutrient loss while using a microwave. But this loss is generic, which can be seen in any type of heating. Like every other thing, microwave ovens have their advantages and disadvantages.

“In this fast world, it helps to save you some cooking time, as well as can be seen as a boon for sustainable nutrition as it reduces reliability on conventional resources like coal, wood, and LPG,” says Wattamwar.

“At the same time, some health experts are against the use of radiation altogether. But then, that would also include radiations from your WiFi connection or the one’s emitting from your mobile phone’s. Living in today’s world, and avoiding these gadgets is next to impossible. But what we can do is take safety measures to prevent over exposure,” adds Qureshi.

At the end, whatever you decide to use- be it microwave or conventional cooking methods, make sure you take all the precautions required. Stay safe, stay healthy, ladies!

Shifa Khan Shifa Khan

An aesthete and a skincare junkie, Shifa spends most of her time cooking delish food while wearing a sheet mask. At HealthShots, she creates high-octane content that can leave you all a little intrigued!

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