How unhealthy is cooking with a microwave?
In offices, the microwave is often the only way of heating food, but many feel that this type of food preparation is unhealthy. Is this true or is the microwave’s reputation worse in our heads than reality? HelloFreshGO can clear this up.
It should be so easy. You take your prepared soup or pasta dish out of the fridge, put it in the microwave, press a button and wait for two to three minutes. Then you open the door and, in front of you, is your delicious ready-to-eat lunch. No cooking, no pots, no oven. Particularly for the office, a microwave can be an ideal way of cooking.
But despite this uncomplicated method of food preparation, many people are still scared of microwaves. It has a bad reputation. Many people worry that cooking food in a microwave is unhealthy and that nutrient and vitamin levels can become depleted. And then, what about the radiation? HelloFreshGO explains what the science says.
How does a microwave work?
Food is heated with the help of electromagnetic radiation. Rays or microwaves stimulate water molecules in the food, making them move which creates friction and heat. The process doesn’t ‘contaminate’ the food itself. It is heated only at the molecular level meaning this preparation method is healthy and totally harmless.
Tip: In principle, this process only takes place within the device. However, the beam’s concentration can reach up to 30cm surrounding the microwave. Therefore, you shouldn’t stand in front of the microwave and always make sure that the door is completely closed.
Is food preparation in the microwave healthy?
Some say that microwaves destroy food’s nutrients and vitamins. This is, without a doubt, wrong. They claim that similar to cooking on the hob, the nutrient content depends on the duration and temperature of the cooking process.
Science, however, doesn’t agree here. Some studies show that the nutritional content of dishes prepared in microwaves isn’t less when compared with alternative cooking methods. Other studies contradict this. How many nutrients are actually lost through cooking in the microwave depends on the specific nutrient. Vitamin C, for example, isn’t very heat resistant and becomes depleted when heated in a microwave. But, this also happens during normal cooking processes. Therefore, food cooked in a microwave isn’t harmful to health.
Is it better to do without the microwave?
Let’s look at its reputation again. There is nothing wrong with using a microwave in the office to heat your food and there is often no other option. But, in the future, you can use a microwave without worrying because science proves that it isn’t unhealthy. However, common sense is also important. To enjoy a healthy, balanced diet you shouldn’t use a microwave as your only cooking method.
Please note: Many plastic containers use plasticisers that are harmful to your health. When the plastic is heated, these plasticisers pass into the food. Therefore, if you are heating food in plastic bowls in a microwave make sure they are microwavable.