The idea of a microwave oven was created many years ago. The first commercial construction was created in 1947 and it was possible to buy it for around 5000 dollars. It was the size of a large refrigerator and weighed about twenty times more than modern constructions. Today it is difficult to imagine a kitchen in which there is no microwave oven, and the price of this device is many times lower. What are the risks of using microwaves to heat food? Is the microwave oven safe?
How does a microwave oven work?
Microwave ovens that we use at home operate at 2450 MHz and usually have power from 500 to 110 watts. The microwaves are produced by an electronic tube called a magnetron. After switching on the device, the microwaves are dispersed in the chamber where we place heated food. The microwaves are propagated in all directions and bounce off the metal walls of the oven and are then absorbed by the food. The glass in the door is also equipped with a metal net to prevent the waves coming out. Microwaves vibrate water molecules in food, and friction between molecules increases temperature and heats food. Metal is a barrier through which the microwaves do not penetrate. However, glass and some plastics are not an obstacle for them.
There are both supporters and opponents of using a microwave oven.
Opponents of the use of microwaves argue that microwaves significantly reduce the nutritional value of food. The reduction applies to vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B12, flavonoids, important minerals and lipotropics. There are views according to which food subjected to microwaves becomes harmful and carcinogenic. For example, heating milk in a microwave oven destroys enzymes that help digest food, allow the absorption of nutrients and protect against pathogens. Milk preparations for babies also lose some vitamins after heating in a microwave oven. In popular science magazines, articles have been published in which meals cooked in a microwave oven have a carcinogenic effect on blood. Hazards can also be related to the heating of plastics in a microwave oven. Carcinogenic compounds from plastic containers and packaging penetrate into food cooked in a microwave oven.
It is presumed that microwave radiation impairs the immune system of people and the regular consumption of food prepared in the microwave causes memory loss, emotional problems, lowering IQ and limiting the production of hormones.
According to the knowledge of supporters of using microwave ovens, it is a safe, fast and convenient way to prepare meals. Food cooked in a microwave oven is equally safe and has the same nutritional value as food cooked in the traditional way. The main difference between the two cooking methods is that the microwave energy penetrates the food faster and deeper, thus reducing the cooking time. However, in order to take full advantage of this device, the basic rules described in the user’s manual must be observed.
Use only dishes and containers that are suitable for cooking in a microwave oven. Some dishes that are not suitable for the microwave oven may melt or explode. Microwaves do not heat food containers that are intended for cooking in a microwave oven. These materials usually heat only in contact with hot food.
Due to the uneven distribution of temperature, dishes heated in the microwave should wait a few minutes after cooking, so that the temperature can even out in the whole dish.
What do you think about using a microwave oven? Do you reheat food in the microwave without any worries?