Microwaves have become true kitchen companions with their unmatched energy efficiency and quick reheating capabilities. And while they have evolved into all-in-one cooking machines with grill and convection functionalities, they are rarely tasked with the creation of entire meals. This might be the result of lingering fears that microwaves can be a deadly source of radiation. While the debate on the health effects of microwave cooking continues, here are some interesting insights to digest.
First things first – microwave ovens do not make food “radioactive”.
Electromagnetic radiation – the basic process behind microwave ovens – is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to microwave cooking. There still seems to be a fear that so-called “nuking” will contaminate food with radiation or that the microwave will leak harmful radiation – causing fatal illnesses.
A lack of conclusive evidence that microwave ovens emit dangerous levels of radiation or alters food particles, however, has paved the way for research into the health benefits of microwave cooking. An information report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has debunked this myth, stating that microwave ovens pose no threat to food and have actually shown to cook food more evenly.
Furthermore, governments strictly monitor the amount of harmful electromagnetic radiation that microwave ovens emit. According to the WHO, several international regulatory commissions have stipulated an emission limit of 50 watts per square metre at any point 5 cm away from the external surfaces of the microwave oven.
Microwave cooking is healthy and can even improve on traditional cooking methods.
Aside from being more energy efficient and reducing cooking time, microwaves can help to prepare healthy and nutritional meals. A recent article by the Harvard Medical School supports the notion that steaming vegetables in a microwave helps to retain more vitamins and nutrients as opposed to stove-top boiling.
Aside from simplifying cooking methods, microwave ovens are also powerful germ killing machines. They have proven to kill close to 99% of harmful bacteria on non-metallic kitchen sponges. According to a report by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, microwaving a wet sponge for 2 minutes at a time can eliminate E. coli and bacterial spores.
If all else fails, read the instructions.
One of the factors that can negatively influence microwave cooking is omitting to read the operating instructions properly. No one wants to serve unevenly cooked meals, but unfortunately this will be the case if your microwave is operated improperly.
Microwaves with pre-programmed and auto-cook functions allow you to choose the weight or quantity of food, further eliminates the possibility of an unappealing or badly cooked meal. Most pre-packaged foods have instruction labels for microwave cooking and should be followed closely. Knowing the wattage of your microwave oven also makes it easy to determine how long to cook a meal.
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