Microwave cooking – does it create health risks?
We live in a society where instant gratification is expected in all areas of our lives. We have an entire world of information at our fingertips, communication with anyone worldwide takes only seconds, and we can purchase anything in the world that we want, as long as we’re willing to pay for shipping. How we choose to cook our food is no different, many people choose to use a microwave to have hot food as soon as possible, making the microwave oven the main appliance used in home and workplace kitchens. But this as in all things is a tradeoff. When we make choices based on convenience, we can be sacrificing quality, and even safety. Since we’re talking about your food here, the main source of nutrition and energy for your body, it’s pretty important to know if the food you’re eating is safe. So let’s take a deeper look into microwave cooking, the safety of microwaves, their use, and the food you eat that comes from them.
Safety concerns over microwave radiation in microwave cooking
The first safety question that comes to mind when we talk about microwave cooking is about the radiation that it may add to foods. Who wants to eat radiation? The type of radiation microwaves use is most clearly defined like this, “They are classified as non-ionizing radiation – radiation which can change the position of atoms but is not strong enough to alter their structure, composition, or properties. Even though non-ionizing radiation is not strong enough to alter the structure of atoms, it is still able to cause physical alterations.” The atoms in your food are basically excited to cause friction, and the frequencies used (and eaten) are incompatible with human health. In more sensitive individuals, and those who do microwave cooking often, “microwave sickness” has been observed. This has been extensively explored by Robert O Becker, in his book The Body Electric.
Dr. Lita Lee has also done in-depth work with the effects of microwave cooking. He notes that those whose have eaten microwaved food can suffer from lymphatic disorders, even including cancers. Digestive disturbances were very commonly observed in his studies, and there was degradation in the tissues used for digestion and elimination. So in these ways, we see that the radiation in the foods we eat that are microwaved can’t be considered safe.
The destruction of nutrients
The way atoms vibrate against each other can cause a breakdown in the atomic structure, changing your nutritious meals into potentially carcinogenic compounds. That leftover pizza might be tasty, but microwaving destroys many of the vitamins and minerals that would have been present originally. Not only that, but microwave cooking can transform your food into something that causes cancer. Taking something that starts as highly nutritious, like broccoli, this study noted that over 97% of the beneficial compounds were destroyed by cooking in a microwave. This study, done in Japan, shows that B12, an important vitamin found in milk, is reduced by over 60% when it’s put through a microwave. B12 is essential to all human life, and we tend to have trouble consuming enough of it to begin with.
It’s also been observed that microwave cooking destroys the vitamin C found in foods, and this is another nutrient that we can’t live without. The study goes on to show that the greater the power output of the microwave and the longer the food is exposed, the more nutrients are destroyed.
Damage to the blood, heart, and immune system
Dr. Hans Hertel, a Swiss researcher, has done very well designed and controlled studies to look at the dangers and nutrient loss in microwave cooking. From his work, we can see, “Significant changes were discovered in the blood samples from the intervals following the foods cooked in the microwave oven. These changes included a decrease in all hemoglobin and cholesterol values, especially the ratio of HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) values. Lymphocytes (white blood cells) showed a more distinct short-term decrease following the intake of microwaved food than after the intake of all the other variants. Each of these indicators pointed to degeneration.”
We already know that we need abundant, healthy white blood cells to both fight off infection that can be contracted from outside sources as well as maladies that can be caused inside the body, so damaging our immune system this way seems like a sacrifice we shouldn’t be making for the sake of convenience.
It also seems like an unfavorable tradeoff to damage our hearts and cholesterol levels. Studies show that, while elevated cholesterol can cause problems, lowered cholesterol can also cause a great deal of harm. Cholesterol is the backbone of all the hormones in our body and is essential for proper cell signaling. It’s also important in the daily repair of the tissues in our blood vessels.
There is mounting evidence that microwave cooking does more harm than good. If you want safe, nutritious food, spend the extra few minutes to use a more traditional cooking method, and avoid microwave cooking.