Have you ever been concerned or worried to use the microwave because you always heard that it may give harm to you in some way? Or it may destroy the micronutrients in your food? Or even worst, it will cause cancer? It is true? Or it’s just myths? Don’t worry; these are the questions that we’re going to explore in this article.
Does Microwave radiation make foods radioactive?
Perhaps this is the biggest concerned that everyone out there afraid of! Is this true? But firstly, do you know what radiation is? Radiation actually can be found everywhere, in varying amounts that essentially the release of energy, which is given off by things such as x-ray, sunbed, mobile phone, as well as computer, radios, even heater, etc. So does it means we are constantly in danger? Relax and chill. Let’s study how the microwave works and its radiation effect on us!
How do microwaves work?
Before we talk about other concern, let’s make you clear on how this thing works. You need to know that there are two different kinds of radiation, which are “ionizing radiation” and “non-ionizing radiation”. Ionizing radiation is radiation that can remove tightly-bound electrons from atoms that causing them to be charged. In easy word, it will be less risky if we use it in very tiny amounts, like x-rays, but it might give a problem when exposure is high (WHO, 2018).
However, microwave emits non-ionizing radiation, which is relatively low-energy radiation which doesn’t have enough energy to ionize atoms as well as molecules (University of Pennsylvania, 2013). What does means? It means that the radiation from the microwaves is only will cause the molecule inside the food to move but cannot change the chemical structure of food components. More specifically, when we heat our food in a microwave, the radiation that being produces will be absorbed by the water molecules inside the food, and this energy will cause the water molecules to vibrate that generating heat through this harmless friction, which will cook the food (Alenjandra, 2014)
Thus, is microwave radiation harmful?
Well, is there any good evidence to support this theory? Based on study done by Petter Valberg on 1997, he found very little confirmation to support a causal relationship between this exposure and disease thus concluded that microwaves do not cause cancer, since the radiation produces is low and only can cause the water molecules to move. Same goes with study done by “Molecular and Cellular Biology” which found that microwave radiation did not show any signs of increased cancer risk in Swiss albino mice (Paulraj & Behari, 2011).
Do Microwaves destroy micronutrients in our food?
Actually, there are a lot of studies being done on how microwaving foods may influence their nutrients. It is vitamin C will loss if we use microwave? Actually Vitamin C is quite volatile in heat, and due to that all type of cooking in general will causes its loss. However, you may get plentiful of this vitamin in raw fruits and vegetables, which you can compensate there (Alenjandra, 2014). But interestingly, some of study found that broccoli can retain all of its minerals when microwaved (Carmen et al., 2007) and microwave cooking also able to produce lowest antioxidant losses in 20 vegetables when compared to pressure-cooking, boiling or frying! (Jimenez et al., 2009).
How about the container?
The chemicals from the container will leak into the food? Well, I’m pretty sure this question always wondering in your mind. Please don’t worry, tests are already conducted to ensure this safety issues, and the only container that passes this test can state that they are approved and safe for use in microwave ovens.
All in all, microwaves don’t make food radioactive and harmful. They just heat them! Up to now, there is no proven that microwaves will cause any harm to those who use them, as long as you follow the instruction to use it carefully.