Cooking in the microwave is very convenient. It is easy to use, does not require mixing dishes, turning over portioned pieces, cooks without the use of fats and incredibly fast.
However, many people are wondering “can I cook in a microwave?”, fearing that microwave ovens produce harmful radiation, which can directly cause harm to health and have a harmful effect on the food being cooked.
A microwave oven is a kitchen appliance that converts electrical energy into electromagnetic waves called microwaves. These waves activate food molecules, causing them to move and collide with each other, converting the energy of the movement of molecules into heat. This process is similar to how your hands heat up if they are quickly rubbed against each other.
Due to the fact that microwave ovens produce electromagnetic waves, this is considered by many to be radiation, which can cause harm. In fact, microwave ovens produce non-ionizing radiation, which is similar to the radiation emitted by mobile phones, but much less. It must be borne in mind that the light from an electric bulb is also electromagnetic radiation. Not everything that is called radiation is harmful to health.
Microwave ovens are equipped with metal protective screens that prevent harmful effects.
Due to the weaker impulse, microwave ovens pose less of a health risk compared to mobile phones and therefore there is no reason to refuse them. The radiation decreases rapidly with distance, and the furnace does not pose any threat already at a distance of 30 cm from it.
If the microwave oven does not pose a threat to humans, then perhaps it has a bad effect on the foods we cook in it? Is it possible to cook in the microwave without compromising the nutritional value of the food?
Any form of heat treatment of food reduces its nutritional value. This is facilitated by high temperature, long cooking times and water, which dissolves water-soluble nutrients.
In all these parameters, microwave ovens have an advantage over frying and cooking processes. They give a lower temperature than oil frying, do not require water, which is necessary when cooking food, and have a shorter cooking time compared to other culinary food processing processes.
According to studies, microwave ovens do not lead to a decrease in the nutritional value of foods compared to other cooking methods.
However, one study showed that all the pharmacological properties of garlic are destroyed in a microwave oven within a minute, although it takes 45 minutes in a conventional oven. There is also a study showing that microwaving destroys 97% of the flavonoid antioxidants in broccoli, while boiling destroys only 66%.
In general, with a few exceptions, microwave ovens are good at preserving the nutrients in foods.
Thus, all cooking methods reduce the nutritional value of food, but microwave ovens are generally more efficient in preserving nutritional value than methods such as boiling, stewing, frying, baking, or grilling. Cooking food in a microwave oven produces less harmful compounds. One of the advantages of microwave ovens is that food does not get hotter than boiling water. However, some fatty foods may be heated to a higher temperature.
For example, one study found that microwaved chicken legs produced far fewer harmful substances than roasted chicken legs.
You should know!
When processing food in a microwave oven, use special utensils designed for microwave ovens, avoiding plastic containers.
Many plastics contain harmful substances (such as bisphenol) that cause cancer, thyroid disease and obesity. The use of plastic utensils for high-temperature processing of food is generally unacceptable, regardless of which heating method you use.
For microwave cooking, only foods that you are 100% sure are fresh.
The problem is that microwave cooking may not be as safe in terms of killing pathogenic bacteria as other cooking methods.
Due to the fact that the temperature in microwave ovens is relatively low, the cooking time is short, and food is heated unevenly, not all harmful microorganisms may die. Therefore, the answer to the question “is it possible to cook in the microwave?” – definitely possible. The rest is a matter of taste.
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