Is Your Microwave Safe?

Smaller and cheaper than ever before, microwaves are now a staple item in family kitchens. With the ability to cook meals in minutes, microwaves fit perfectly with today’s busy lifestyles.

Microwave ovens energise the water molecules inside food so they vibrate and rub together. This generates friction, which heats the food from the inside. As with any piece of electrical equipment, it’s important to use your microwave safely. Following the manufacturer’s instructions will help prevent injury as well as avoiding illness caused by food poisoning. It’s important to check your microwave regularly – never use a microwave that has a damaged door, or signs of damage elsewhere.

Use it right

Always follow the instructions for the food you are cooking. For example, check ready meals to see if the container is suitable for microwaving and if not, decant the food to a microwaveable alternative. Check the food is completely cooked, all the way through, before serving. Be aware that food can become incredibly hot after being cooked in a microwave, so may need to sit for a few minutes before serving. Also remember that ready meal containers can sometimes soften slightly when cooking so you may need to wait a minute for them to regain their firmness.

Some people worry about the effects of radiation caused by microwave ovens and the possibility that they could cause cancer. Studies have failed to show a clear link between microwaves and cancer, and most experts suggest the small amounts of energy given off are unlikely to cause harm. However, to be on the safe side, you may wish to stand away from the microwave when it is in use.

Did you know? Using a microwave for cooking can reduce the nutritional value of some foods, especially fruit and vegetables. However, nutrients are also lost when heating foods by boiling, grilling, frying and even steaming. As long as you don’t overcook foods, microwaving can be healthy as it only uses a little water, so nutrients are diluted.

Nutritionists say that it is possible to live without a microwave – it just takes a little more organisation:

  • Plan ahead. Take your meat out of the freezer the night before, or in the morning so it thaws during the day.
  • Frozen soups and stews take less time to defrost so can be removed an hour or two before. Place in a sink of water until it can be slipped into a pan and slowly heated on the hob.
  • Simply heat a plate of food in the oven, even if it may take a little longer.
  • Incorporate more raw food in your diet, full of digestive enzymes and nutrients, they provide a great boost to your health.

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