In our current society, we are people-on-the-go! Our lives are so busy that we don’t even have time to sit down and have a nice home-cooked meal with the family. Instead, we turn to fast food restaurants or microwave dinners. It has been estimated that over 90% of all Americans have a microwave. Do you know how these ovens work? Basically, microwave radiation excites the water, fat and other molecules in the food and in a certain amount of time, the food will cook/heat. Now, depending on who you talk with, the answer regarding the safety of microwave usage will vary. There are several factors to consider—type of food, type of containers, heating versus cooking. Studies have shown that microwave cooking does destroy vitamins and nutrients of some foods. In fact, according to a study in Science News, six minutes of microwave cooking destroyed half the vitamin B12 in dairy foods and meat, which is a much higher rate of destruction than other techniques.[2,3] Now, I must admit I too have succumb to the convenience of microwave re-heating! Though I do not cook in the microwave, I still use it some times for defrosting and re-heating. However, as of twp months ago, I have started moving away from this process; though this is sometimes difficult, I know that it is imperative if I want to maintain my vitamins and nutrients.
I have not been able to find many studies to back-up the dangers of microwave usage. But I think the best thing to do is to remember balance. Try to start minimizing your microwave usage during the week. I have started using my bamboo steamer to re-heat my leftovers—it works great and only takes about 5 to 7 minutes!
“Microwave Ovens.” Wikipedia.org. 02 Oct. 2008. 05 Oct. 2008 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microwave_oven>.
Raloff, Janet. “Microwaves Bedevil a B Vitamin.” Science News. 14 Feb. 1998. 05 Oct. 2008 http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1200/is_n7_v153/ai_20346932>.
Don Colbert, MD. The Seven Pillars of Health. Florida: Siloam, 2007.
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