Microwave cooking is often considered one of the most convenient ways to prepare or re-prepare food; however, that convenience comes at a cost. Microwaves have significant impacts on general health and may be more harm than help. The concerns regarding microwave cooking are two-fold: the food that has been microwaved as well as the emission of radiation from the microwave itself.
How Do Microwave Ovens Work?
Microwaves work in essentially the opposite direction of conventional ovens. Whereas a conventional oven cooks food from the outside in, a microwave oven emits a form of radiofrequency electromagnetic energy. This energy comes in contact with the food, is absorbed by the foods molecules, and excites the atoms in the food, causing them to move. This movement causes friction and produces the rapid increase in temperature.
This method of cooking likely changes the chemical composition in food, which also alters the way body digests the cooked food. Additionally, microwaves have the potential to emit radio waves that are potentially dangerous to the human body; however, when microwaves are properly maintained even this risk is limited.
The Risks and Hazards of Microwave Cooking
Repeated research has shown that microwaves constitute at least a minimal risk for human health. Blood tests done as a part of study in 1991 indicated that individuals who regularly ate microwaved food had lower healthy red blood cell counts, high cholesterol, higher white blood cell counts and lower lymphocytes. These effects are likely the result of ingesting chemically altered foods that form toxins and free radicals in the body upon breakdown.
Additional hazards of microwaving food include the breakdown of energy sources, degeneration of nerve impulses in the brain, cumulative loss of energy, deposition of magnetic material in the body and interruption of the normal production of hormones in the body. These findings also suggest a higher risk of cancer and other associated disease.
Ultimately, the best option is to avoid microwaved foods as well as microwave frequency in the home. The threats posed, no matter how minimal, have an effect on general health that can be easily avoided.