140813 Is your microwave destroying the benefits of the food you are cooking?

Is your microwave destroying the benefits of the food you are cooking?

This question was recently posed to Irwin H Rosenberg M.D. who responded by saying, “foods cooked in a microwave oven may keep more of their vitamins and minerals, because microwaves can cook food more quickly and without adding water – nor do you have to add fat. At worst, microwave cooking reduces nutrient levels in food no more than conventional cooking.”

Another question that periodically surfaces is the validity of the supposedly dangerous byproducts that result from microwave cooking. According to the US FDA “microwaves cause water molecules in food to vibrate, producing heat that cooks the food. That’s why foods high in water content, like fresh vegetables, can become cooked more quickly than other foods. The microwave energy is changed to heat as it is absorbed by food, and does not make food ‘radioactive’ or ‘contaminated.’”

Another concern with using a microwave oven centers on the containers used to cook the food. Again, the FDA warns, “some plastic containers should not be used in a microwave oven because they can be melted by the heat of the food inside.” Speaking of containers, it is not advisable to use metal or aluminum foil in a microwave because the reflections coming back from these materials can cause uneven distribution of the energy within the food thereby leaving uncooked spots. An additional reason not to use this material is the potential for damage to the oven due to these misdirected and high-powered reflected rays.

Your microwave oven should not be used for home canning purposes. The normal household microwave oven will not produce or keep the temperature high enough to kill off harmful bacteria that sometimes occurs in certain foods during the canning process.

And, one final safety note about cooking frozen foods in the microwave. Carefully follow the cooking and preparation directions of the manufacturer for the food otherwise, you may be opening yourself up to a food borne sickness.