|Dangers of Microwave Cooking |
Man has always desired for comforts of life and technology in its various forms have fulfilled this human life objective to a great extent. Many electronic gadgets are thus proving a great source towards human comfort. Microwave cooking is also one of such technological advancement which has made inroads into the kitchen of a common man. Today many households all over the world are making use of microwave cooking technology without giving a second thought about the dangers of microwaves and their effects on the quality of cooking ingredients. When technology use with not all advantageous applications is becoming
Indispensable then a sustainable use of technology is the need of hour. The miracle of microwave ovens has made them increasingly popular world-wide, rendering any negativity of the machines widely unacknowledged. People believe that the basis behind the microwave ovens is that it just simply cooks and/or heats up food but there’s a lot more to it. In 2007, studies showed that 91% of UK households owned a microwave oven, therefore, it comes as no surprise that people are quite skeptical about the dangers they may possess. After all, microwave manufacturers would not want to reduce their profit by promoting the dangers of their product, and have undertaken drastic actions in the past to keep their secrets hidden. But the truth is that there are many potential hidden hazards, the likes of which various reports and journals have previously outlined. For example, if microwaves are so safe, why were they banned in Russia? Why are mothers not allowed to heat milk for infants in the microwave? Does it make sense that we take such precautions for our young children but we cannot do it for ourselves?
A microwave oven uses electromagnetic radiation (waves of electrical and magnetic energy) generated by a magnetron, which is a tube in which electrons are subjected to both magnetic and electrical fields, producing an electromagnetic field with a microwave frequency of about 2.4 GHz. The ovens create a phenomenon called dielectric heating wherein the microwaves enter the food kept in the chamber and interact with water molecules (bipolar in nature) creating rapid rotations due to the alternating electric field. These vibrations are of extremely high frequencies creating inter-molecular friction in adjacent molecules, which heats up the food. In the absence of water dielectric heating is not possible. The “inside out” heating is actually a myth as the penetration of the microwaves is dependent on the denseness of the food. Conventional ovens use convection to heat the food from the outside slowly moving inward.
Toxicity of microwave cooking
Obviously it is argued that like any appliance, microwaves have safety procedures built into them such as metal wiring through which the radiation cannot penetrate. And although there are many safety procedures built into the microwave itself, such as the common knowledge not to use metal in the microwave, it is the internal dangers within the food heated itself that the manufacturers refuse to tell you about. Microwaving creates new compounds that are not found in humans or in nature, called radiolytic compounds. In addition to the violent frictional heat effects, or thermic effects, there are also athermic effects, that are suspected to be responsible for much of the deformation and degradation of cells and molecules. Leakage of numerous toxic chemicals from the packaging of common microwavable foods, including pizzas, chips and popcorn, including polyethylene terpthalate (PET), bisphenol A (BPA), benzene, toluene, and xylene has been reported. Microwaving fatty foods in plastic containers leads to the release of dioxins (known carcinogens) and other toxins into your food.
Some scientific data about the detrimental effects of microwaves on the nutrients in food:
*A study published in the November 2003 issue of The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that broccoli “zapped” in the microwave with a little water, lost up to 97 percent of its beneficial antioxidants. By comparison, steamed broccoli lost 11 percent or fewer of its antioxidants. There were also reductions in phenolic compounds and glucosinolates, but mineral levels remained intact.
*A 1999 Scandinavian study of the cooking of asparagus spears found that microwaving caused a reduction in vitamin C.
*In a study of garlic, as little as 60 seconds of microwave heating was enough to inactivate its allinase, garlic’s principle active ingredient against cancer.
*A Japanese study showed that just 6 minutes of microwave heating turned 30-40 percent of the B12 in milk into an inert (dead) form.
*A recent Australian study showed that microwaves cause a higher degree of “protein unfolding” than conventional heating.
*Microwaving can destroy the essential disease-fighting agents in breast milk that offer protection for baby. Microwaved breast milk lost lysozyme activity, antibodies, and fostered the growth of more potentially pathogenic bacteria.
*Another study about breast milk/infant formula found vitamin content becomes depleted by microwaving, and certain amino acids are converted into other substances that are biologically inactive. Some altered amino acids are poisons to the nervous system and kidneys.
*As well as reducing the nutritional value of foods, microwaving foods leaves us more susceptible to serious conditions such as cancer. As if cancer alone is not enough substantial proof to avoid microwave ovens, another significant aspect is the attenuation in food value. Studies have shown that nutritional amounts are severely reduced, particularly the B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, and essential minerals.
There are many other concerns with microwave ovens, among them:
*Microwave radiation leakage-microwave ovens vary in the amount of radiation that escapes while in use. But even if there’s nothing wrong with microwave, keep in mind that standing a foot away from it while it’s running can expose to upwards of 400 milliGauss, and a mere 4 milliGauss has been firmly linked to leukemia.
*Carcinogenic toxins can be leached from plastic or paper plates or covers and mix with food.
*The food temperature may become extremely hot, at temperatures high enough to cause burns or steam buildup that could explode–this is especially problematic for baby bottles, and is one of the reasons why baby bottles should never be heated in the microwave (microwaving can also break down the disease-fighting ability of breast milk).
*Vegetables and other foods lose valuable, cancer-fighting nutrients when cooked in the microwave.
*The chemical structure of foods changes when microwaved, with unknown consequences.
Microwave cooking can alter the food’s nutrients enough so that changes occurred in the participants’ blood and the changes included:
*Increased cholesterol levels
*Decreased numbers of leukocytes (white blood cells), suggestive of poisoning *Decreased numbers of red blood cells
*Production of radiolytic compounds (compounds unknown in nature) *Decreased hemoglobin levels, which could indicate anemic tendencies
*Easy access to a microwave oven poses a significant scald risk to children, who can open the door and remove the hot contents. An engineering fix for microwave ovens could help protect young children from this mechanism of scalding. It could also help to understand that older kids pose a risk to younger ones when they’re cooking or carrying around food.
*Smart food preparation starts with high quality whole (preferably organic and/or locally grown) foods and food preparation from scratch, and that means saying sayonara to your microwave oven.