Do Microwaves Cause Cancer? The True Story

You’re probably here because you’re wondering: is using a microwave to warm up your food safe, and does it have any health impacts? Do Microwaves Cause Cancer?

How do Microwave Ovens Cook Food?

Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation that readily interacts with water, fat, and sugar molecules. Electromagnetic waves shake the molecules, causing friction, which generates heat within the molecules and ultimately heats up the food.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. As soon as you hear the word radiation, you might think of radioactivity. But don’t panic – microwaves don’t even come close to nuclear bombs! The length and frequency of microwaves are very close to the radio waves you use to connect to your wifi and to use your phone to send a text or make a phone call. Even light is a type of electromagnetic radiation, so microwave radiation is not harmful. Even microwave ovens don’t cause any harm while it’s running. Microwaves are easily absorbed and blocked by the inside of the microwave oven so they can’t escape. Just to be in safe side don’t stand within 30cm of the microwave or have your head or face right next to the oven.

You can’t believe that direct sunlight is more harmful because it contains UV rays, which have shorter wavelengths and higher frequencies. That’s why it can penetrate the skin and damage DNA, potentially leading to skin cancer. That’s why the trend of using sunscreen has become prevalent nowadays. Depending on the skin tone, it’s also important, anyway, I won’t delve into that detail right now.

Do Microwave Foods Cause Cancer?

There is no substantiated evidence suggesting that preparing food in a microwave oven contributes to an increased risk of developing cancer. However, you may have heard of microwaves melting plastics – so make sure to use microwave-safe plastic so you don’t get plastic melting into your food! And if you’re worried about plastic leaching into your food, look for the “BPA free” symbol on plastic containers. That’s because plastics with BPA are linked to cancer, thyroid problems, and obesity. Better if you can use glass, porcelain, or ceramic microwaveable containers.

Microwave the Food Good for Our Health

There are three principles you need to know about how to cook food to prevent losing the nutrients and vitamins inside it. That’s because there’s no way of cooking or heating food that stops them from being lost or changed. After all, we cook our food to make it easier to digest and to kill bacteria. That’s also why when we talk about processed food being unhealthy, it’s because they’ve been heated and transformed so much they hardly have any vitamins or nutrients in them.

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Microwave is Better than Boiling, Frying & Baking

The first principle is to cook food for a short period of time. This reduces heat damage to the nutrients or vitamins and minerals in your food. The great thing about microwaves is that it’s one of the fastest ways of cooking food. So microwaving definitely reduces the loss of vitamins and nutrients from your food. Yes, you heard that right! Microwaving food might be healthier than frying, baking, or boiling your food.

Easily Boil Foods in Microwave

To preserve those all-important vitamins and nutrients, you want to avoid submerging food like when you boil vegetables. And there’s no need to do that with a microwave because you are kind of boiling food with its own water content when you cook it in microwave. If you still find it necessary, you can mix the vegetables well with a little salt and put them inside the microwave. This way, the vegetables will cook nicely without the need to boil them in water.

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This is different from boiling food in water on a stove. Because you drain off the water and lose some of the vitamins which dissolve in the water during cooking. So in a way, microwaving food might retain more vitamins in food rather than boiling them in water. This goes for potatoes too!

Too Much Heat Causes Cancer

Remember, excessive heat isn’t necessary for cooking your food, and a microwave is ideal for that purpose! Compared to other cooking methods, a microwave significantly reduces the likelihood of charring or burning your food. This helps preserve more vitamins and nutrients while decreasing the formation of burnt residues, like acrylamide found in burnt toast or chips. Evidence suggests that acrylamide might be linked to cancer.

Food Poisoning is a Real Issue

It’s really important you make sure the food you eat from a microwave has been cooked thoroughly so that it’s safe to eat. Improperly cooked food can harbor bacteria, leading to potential health issues. So remember if you’re cooking or reheating food using a microwave, cover your food to contain the heat and prevent bacterial growth. Once you take your food out, your food should be piping hot all the way through so no bacteria can grow as it cools down.

Microwave Ready Meals are Bad For Health

Let’s discuss microwave-ready meals available in supermarkets. These meals often contain high levels of fat and salt, aimed at enhancing their taste and increasing their shelf life. Ideally, it’s advisable to consume microwave-ready meals in moderation and consider them as occasional indulgences. These meals are easy to overconsume due to their large portions and high-calorie content. To manage cravings, consider sharing a meal or having a smaller portion alongside a main meal.

In the Concluding Lines…

I really hope you found this article interesting. I’ve got to say, Microwaves are a safe and convenient way to cook your food. There is no evidence they cause harm and there is good evidence they help preserve nutrients better than other cooking methods. So, no Microwaves do not Cause Cancer. Instead They also prevent the formation of some harmful compounds like acrylamide. To summarize, don’t stand too close to a microwave, make sure to heat your food properly, and if you are going to use a plastic container, make sure it’s suitable for microwaves and ideally, BPA free!”

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