The Dangers of Microwave Ovens

With the busy schedule most of us have, it can be so tempting to look for short cuts. But when it comes to food preparation, it’s important to do it right and make sure our short cuts aren’t killing us in the long run. Using a microwave to speed up the process of making dinner is very harmful to your family’s health. The radiation used in a microwave speeds up the process of cooking, but it also changes the structure of food and can deplete the food’s nutrients. Returning to simplicity and/or finding healthy shortcuts is one of the core reasons I created Moms Health Zone. Just like you, I’m concerned about how to keep my family healthy in our fast paced world. Convenience foods aren’t convenient if they’re killing us! So I want to show you why to get rid of your microwave, and how you can easily do without it.

Microwaves cause molecules to move very fast which is how they heat food. This “agitation creates molecular friction, which heats up the food. The friction also causes substantial damage to the surrounding molecules, often tearing them apart or forcefully deforming them.” When you heat food in a microwave, you are actually changing the food’s structure and stripping the nutrients from the food. In fact, microwaves actually use radiation (which we know is harmful to our bodies) to heat food. I’m sure they wouldn’t be nearly as popular if they were called what they really are – “radiation ovens.”

Instead of using a microwave, there are many healthier ways to heat your food. Use a teakettle to heat water for hot beverages. At Moms Health Zone I recommend storing leftovers in Pyrex glass dishes (look for them on sale – I buy the rectangular ones as they’re more space efficient than round ones). Reheat your food using the toaster oven in Pyrex containers, foil, or the stovetop. It takes a little longer than a microwave but that extra time can be used for the rest of the meal prep, or other activities with the family. As Clinical Nutritionist Lauren Talbot explains, “when we heat something naturally, it usually takes a ‘few’ more minutes of our time. The heating process is more gradual— the outcome is often better (as far as taste and certainly nutrients).” Food that isn’t heated in a microwave tastes better, isn’t mushy and hasn’t been damaged.

This is where a ‘little bit goes a long way.’ So take a little extra time to keep your family healthy for a lifetime by eliminating the microwave. We could all use a little slowing down and enjoying more. For additional tips on how to keep your family healthy check out more of our posts.

Photo Credit: cbb4104

Tamara Archer

Moms Health Zone was created to serve moms just like you, who know the best way to take care of those you love is to take care of yourself.

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6 Responses to The Dangers of Microwave Ovens

  1. Liza Jensen says:

    I recently moved back to the oven and stove top for heating leftovers. I find that food tastes so much better this way. Now that I know that the microwave changes the molecular makeup of food, I just might ban its use in my house altogether!

    • Tamara Archer says:

      Good for you Lisa and glad you noticed the big difference. When you think about it, most things that we consider enjoyable, are best done slow(er) i.e. conversation, eating, cooking, and sex to name a few. Fast pace kills most savoring…

  2. Lindsay MacInnis says:

    Great post, Tamara! I often remind new moms who need to warm up stored breast milk by placing the bottle in hot water for a few minutes. I recently read that protein is the only food that remotely survives the microwave – from a nutritional standpoint. Microwaving kills the essential enzymes and changes the molecular makeup of the food, so that our bodies may indeed not recognize it or know how to process it and therefore treats the food as waste. Yuk!

    I find reheating over the stove provides a chance for me to get a little Zen. It’s nice to take the time to be mindful while preparing food for myself and my daughter.

    We rarely use our microwave and it’s almost never for food. We mostly heat up our sinus eye pillow or neck and shoulder wraps at home. At work at the Dao Healing Center…we don’t even have a microwave in the building!

    Nice post – keep up the good work!

    • Tamara Archer says:

      Thanks Lindsay for pointing to the ‘Zen’ element. Most of us underestimate or don’t even notice the value of connecting to our food. There’s spiritual, social, ritual, as well as the biological value that goes far beyond a 1+1=2 concept. When we slow down, and really appreciation, and really enjoy, and really savor ~ we are fed on many levels and it opens the door for much more like rich fulfilling relationships, conversations, etc.

  3. Leslie Lang says:

    We are all busy and it’s easy to just pop the food or drink in the microwave…but this isn’t healthy in the long run. Thank you for the reminder! Perhaps I can use my microwave to store my Pyrex dishes now…

    Great blog! Keep ‘em coming!


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