Almost every household has a microwave oven, and the convenience it offers cannot be denied. However, despite the widespread use of ovens, there have been lingering doubts that cooking foods in microwave ovens robs them off their nutritional value. But is it really true? Understanding how microwave ovens work can throw light on this common query.
Foods in microwave ovens are cooked using waves of energy, which quickly generate heat. The heat produced may zap away nutrients but it should be kept in mind that some nutrients break down when they are exposed to heat, whether it is a microwave oven or any other conventional cooking method. Certain nutrients such as vitamin C can be easily broken down when exposed to heat. But a microwave oven can be a good choice as the cooking time is short and thus does a better job at preserving the nutrients. Steaming your food can help you preserve the most nutrients.
What are the disadvantages of cooking in a microwave oven?
- Cooking foods in microwave ovens can reduce the moisture content of the foods. Foods with low water content are more prone to drying out while cooking.
- Foods such as meat, egg and cheese seem to toughen in a microwave, whereas large items tend to overcook.
- Microwave ovens can be unsafe as they do not heat the foods evenly. It can be dangerous when you are trying to cook raw food as it can leave back harmful bacteria. You may want to read about5 common cooking mistakes that make your meals unhealthy.
- You may not get the desired texture while cooking in microwave ovens as it does not turn the foods brown and crisp, unlike the conventional cooking range.
Also, reheating foods a number of times in a microwave oven can further leach away nutrients from them.
Are there any health hazards of cooking in a microwave oven?
According to livestrong.com, microwave cooking can be hazardous to your health as the radiation from microwave ovens can create dangerous components in your food. It may have many harmful effects, including degeneration of the immune system, creating cancer-causing agents and releasing radioactivity into the environment. You can prevent cancer by making changes in your food habits.
Also, making use of plastic containers in microwave oven may produce carcinogens, which can be detrimental to your health. However, to reduce the effects of the chemicals, taking certain measures can help. Always use glass or glass ceramics instead of plastic that can melt and produce carcinogens during cooking.
Tips to cook healthy in a microwave oven
- Never pile on food one on top of the other in a microwave as the food is cooked evenly when it is spread out.
- While reheating kachori or patties, make sure to place absorbent kitchen paper underneath to prevent the foods from turning soggy.
- Do not cover foods with plastic wraps as the heat produced in the oven can turn them into carcinogens.
- The food continues to cook in the microwave even after the microwave time because of the heat generated in the oven. Therefore, always take in account the standing time to make sure that your food is not overcooked.
- Also, do not use traditional metal cookware in a microwave oven as microwave heat cannot pass through metal.
Frequently stir, turn and rotate foods in a microwave oven as it will help cook the foods evenly. Here are 13 cooking hacks to make your meals healthier.