For many people, microwave ovens are heaven-sent because it helps us heat our food faster than a regular oven. You simply pop your food in and the microwave will do the rest. Sometimes, you can even cook classic dishes that normally takes hours to cook with your microwave.
However, there are growing rumors that say that using microwave ovens reduces a food’s nutrient content. There is a side that says that the water used for microwave cooking can reduce nutrient content and make the food look ugly. There is another side that says that the radiation used in microwave ovens exposes food to harmful chemicals. There are even scientific studies which support these claims.
But, before you hide your microwave ovens because of these claims, we must investigate if it is true. Should people believe in it? How exactly will microwave oven use kill nutrients? Is there something these groups are missing?
Fresh fruits and vegetables can be eaten fresh and do not require extra cooking. However, certain nutrients would only come out if they are cooked under certain temperatures. For example, cooking tomatoes can bring out its lycopene content even further. Aside from this fact, fresh produce can still have bacteria fatal to humans if they are not cooked properly. Meats should also be cooked before it can be served for eating. While some do eat raw meats as they are, it may still have bacteria that can cause spoilage. The flavor may also be bland if you do not cook it.
Experts say that using a microwave oven is actually a good way to keep a food’s nutrient content high. According to one food scientist, Catherine Adams Hutt, RD, Ph.D., any type of cooking method will cause certain nutrients to disappear. To prevent this from happening, one should use a cooking method that will cook food quickly and use fewer liquids. When you cook with a microwave oven, you only need a bit of water to prepare the food and let it cook. Using the right amount of water can lock the nutrients in the food and keep its freshness. For example, if you boil spinach in water, it can lose almost all its folic acid content. But, if you cook it with little water inside a microwave, it will retain its nutrients.
There are even instances that microwave cooking is safer than other cooking methods. For instance, cooking bacon in a griddle can create cancer-promoting chemicals like nitrosamines. If you microwave it instead, you won’t get a lot of these chemicals in the food. It also reduces the need to use oils that can trigger complicated diseases. Its flavor is also pronounced if you use a microwave oven to cook food. Since microwave ovens can cook inside out, it can release the hidden flavors that only activates when it is exposed to heat.
Other studies also state that bioavailability will also play a part in determining how much nutrients we can get from food. After we eat these foods, our body will try its best to extract nutrients from food further through digestion. If we allowed it to stay raw, the body cannot easily break the proteins down get the nutrients from the food. If we cooked it in any method, we will be able to extract the nutrients quite easily. Digestion can also release nutrients buried within the food.
Of course, you have to make sure that you operate your microwave oven in a way that you won’t overcook it. For example, if you want to cook vegetables, you should use the right amount of water and cover it tightly. The cover and water will help create the right steam environment to cook the food evenly. It will also enhance the flavor of the food and keep most of the nutrients in. Heat can also kill the bacteria found in your food, especially if it is raw.
If you leave the container open, water vapor develops and can cause your vegetables to be overcooked. Overcooked vegetables have lesser nutrient content since heat can dry it out. There is also the possibility that the food will not cook well if you leave it exposed. Users must also use the right containers to cook food to prevent nutrients from being overtaken by harmful chemicals. If you use the wrong containers – which are not microwave safe – it can cause unwanted chemicals from entering your food. Some chemicals that may seep to your food through incorrect plastics include carcinogens.
However, one must not disregard using a regular stove to cook food. This fact is crucial if you are planning to cook raw meats. Using a stovetop to prepare your food is also ideal because you can test if the food has been prepared for your standards. In microwave ovens, you cannot taste your food until it is finished cooking. You can stop the microwave in intervals to see if it tastes right. But, it can be very time consuming to do.
If you need to cook food faster than a regular stovetop, do not fear using your microwave for it. Microwaves are designed to help people cook their food inside out faster. If you are a person who cannot wait for their food to be prepared, this is the best way to stay nourished. Read how your microwave works and learn how to operate it more efficiently when you buy one. If you do, you will be able to keep your food’s nutrient content high and keep yourself nourished by the food you eat. You will also be able to make sure that the food is delicious and cooked perfectly.