You may spend time, money and effort sourcing healthy and/or organic food but if you do not prepare or cook it in a healthy manner, you will not gain the benefits to your health
Eating most of your food in its raw state is ideal, however most busy people are not going to be able to accomplish a completely raw diet, and we’ll end up cooking some of our food.
Wise food preparation starts with high quality whole (preferably organic and/or locally grown) foods and food preparation from scratch. It takes more time of course, but just look at the benefits to your health and longevity. Bowel cancer rates are soaring and digestive disorders are epidemic, and poor food preparation and cooking methods are partly to blame. I am against the use of microwave ovens to cook and reheat food and we really should be wondering why bowel cancer rates have increased dramatically since the introduction of microwave ovens.
Now if you want to sterilize a dishcloth or heat a cup of coffee then use your microwave. Reserve its use for cleaning tea towels, dishrags and sponges. Wet these things first and then heat them for two minutes on high; they are great at effectively sterilizing these often dirty and contaminated sources of bacteria.
But if you zap your food in a microwave you are compromising your health.
Alternatives to using a microwave oven include –
- Stir fry your food in a wok
- Roast your meat and vegetables in a traditional oven
- Purchase a turbo oven, which is economical and a healthy way to cook or reheat leftovers. The turbo oven allows you to make meals in half the time of traditional ovens.
- A convection oven is an easy way to reheat leftovers. Use them at a low temperature — like 200-250 degrees F — to warm a meal over 20-30 minutes.
- Try to eat more of your food in its raw state, as it gives you maximum nutritional value and contains living enzymes and probiotics
- Prepare your meals in advance. This way you will always have a healthy meal available on those days when you’re too busy to cook. Make soups and casseroles in bulk, and then freeze them in large freezer bags or glass jars. Before mealtime, just take one out and defrost it in a sink of warm water. Slowly reheat your meal on the stovetop.
Microwave ovens are super convenient but they are bad for your food, and bad for your health
The health concerns with microwave ovens include:
- Cancer causing toxins can be leached into your food from plastic or paper covers, wrappings or plates during heating
- The food temperature may become extremely hot; this can cause burns or steam buildup that could explode–this is especially bad for baby bottles, and is one of the reasons why baby bottles should NEVER be heated in the microwave. Microwave heating can destroy the disease-fighting ability of breast milk or milk with added probiotics.
- Plant foods and other foods lose phyto-nutrients, which fight and prevent cancer when cooked in the microwave.
- The microwave generated heat produces extremely rapid vibration of the molecules in the cell structures in food so that the physical and chemical structure of foods change; the long term effects are unknown
- Microwave radiation leakage—microwave ovens vary in the amount of radiation that escapes while they are in use. But even if your microwave is in top condition, be aware that standing a foot away from it while it’s running can expose you to upwards of 400 milliGauss, and a mere 4 milliGauss has been linked to leukaemia.
There have been insufficient studies done to determine what types of damage occur in foods during microwaving, and I think this is because there is not enough to be gained financially from such research. In 1991 there was a legal case involving a woman who had hip surgery and died because the blood used in her blood transfusion was warmed in a microwave oven. Blood is routinely warmed before transfusions, but not by microwave. The microwave altered the blood in such a profound way that it caused her death.
Microwave cooking vibrates the molecules in your food to levels they were never designed to experience in nature. This tends to damage the fragile nutrients in ways we do not fully understand – so why are so many people willing to be guinea pigs – or perhaps we are just way too trusting of common day practices?
Let’s look at some of the research available:
- A 1999 Scandinavian study of the cooking of asparagus spears found that microwaving caused a reduction in vitamin C.
- Microwaving can destroy the essential disease-fighting substances in breast milk. In 1992, Quan found that microwaved breast milk lost lysozyme activity and antibodies, and fostered the growth of more potentially pathogenic bacteria
- In a study of the super food garlic, as little as 60 seconds of microwave heating was sufficient to inactivate its allinase, which is garlic’s principle active ingredient against cancer.
- A Japanese study by Watanabe showed that just 6 minutes of microwave heating turned a large percentage of the Vitamin B12 in milk into a useless form.
- A 2008 Australian study showed that microwaves cause a higher degree of “protein unfolding” than conventional heating. This means proteins are damaged.
- A study published in the November 2003 issue of The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that broccoli “zapped” in the microwave lost up to 97 percent of its antioxidants. By comparison, steamed broccoli lost only 11 percent or fewer of its antioxidants. There were also reductions in beneficial phenolic compounds and glucosinolates, but mineral levels remained intact.
To me this is very worrying and enough reason to stop using your microwave oven. However there are still more unknown dangers, because as well as the loss of nutrients, microwaving forms new compounds (known as radiolytic compounds). These compounds are foreign to humans and nature, and we do not know their effects in the human body.
Dr. Hans Hertel, a Swiss food scientist, found negative effects in human blood tests from using microwave cooking. Dr Hertel did a small but high-quality study which showed that microwave cooking altered the food‘s nutrients enough to cause changes in the subject’s blood and these changes appeared negative.
The changes included:
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Decreased numbers of leukocytes (white blood cells)
- Decreased numbers of red blood cells
- Production of radiolytic compounds (compounds unknown in nature)
- Decreased haemoglobin levels, which could indicate anaemic tendencies
Dr. Hertel and his team published the results in 1992, but a Swiss trade organization, the Swiss Association of Dealers for Electro-apparatuses for Households and Industry, had a gag order issued, which prohibited Dr. Hertel from declaring that microwaves were dangerous to health. The gag order was later removed in 1998, after the Swiss court ruled that the gag order violated the right to freedom of expression.