Is it Safe to Heat Food in a Microwave Oven?

Anantika kapoor  |  Updated: July 12, 2017 10:16 IST

Is it Safe to Heat Food in a Microwave Oven?
  • A microwave is a wave of extremely high frequency
  • According to WHO, heating food in a microwave is safe
  • Overheating is a major reason why accidents occur in the kitchen
Image Credit: Instagram/the_orked

A microwave is probably one of the most convenient kitchen gadgets that have made our lives really easy. Scientifically speaking, a microwave is a wave of extremely high frequency. It commonly used to heat or cook food in a microwave oven, among some of its other functions. Manufacturers of microwave ovens strongly recommend its usage due to the ease it brings along. Also, give our busy lives, we are easily attracted to products that offer speed along with efficiency and that’s why a microwave is quite in demand.

The increasing awareness towards our health has sparked several debates about the safety of using a microwave oven to heat or cook food. We set out to clarify the veracity of the claim -“is it really dangerous to heat food in a microwave oven?”

  It is essential to clear a certain misconception that arises regarding microwaving food. The only real danger is the usage of plastic containers or those that do not have a label which reads “microwave safe”. It is a known fact that plastic items tend to melt under excessive heat. This in turn exhibits harmful chemicals causing danger to human health and further polluting the environment. As research shows, this is the most perceived threat that comes from using microwaves. Thus, the secret lies in knowing how and what to use when working with a microwave oven.
Another myth with respect to heating food in a microwave oven is that all the existing nutrition of the food is lost once it is heated in the microwave. The World Health Organization suggests that the food in the microwave has exactly the same nutrients that it does before it heating it. They also state that no microwave energy remains in the food once the microwave has been turned off. This disregards another misconception that the food heated in the microwave becomes "radioactive".

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Bangalore-based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood, nutritionist, shares, "The myth that heating food in the microwave oven is dangerous has not been proven yet. For short duration heating, the microwave oven is not dangerous provided ceramic and proper containers are used while cooking and heating."

It is essential that some safety standards must be followed to ensure optimum usage of the microwave and to get the best out of it. This will help one think rationally and counter the existing myths.

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Microwave ovens are designed in a manner that the waves flow only when the oven is switched on. Thus, it does not pose any danger to the surroundings where it is placed. It is extremely important to maintain the functioning of the oven and it must be kept in a proper condition. It is only with poor maintenance and excessive damage, that the microwave oven poses serious threats. Overheating is a major reason why accidents occur in the kitchen.
Thus, it is important to service the oven regularly in order to prevent leakage. Radiations due to leakage can be dangerous. Avoid standing in front of the oven door when food is being heated or cooked. If the necessary precautions are undertaken rigorously, then using a microwave oven need not be perceived as a threat.


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