Let’s uncover the veil on microwave ovens, how they work and why we think they’re awesome.
We used to be a little wary of microwaves. We had always been told that microwaves are “bad”, and told weird conspiracy stories about this everyday kitchen appliance. No one ever put these types of conspiracy theories on the refrigerator or the stove, so why the microwave?
Well as we got older and more into science it became clear that actually the humble microwave got an unfair reputation. I learned that not only are microwaves not bad, they actually are good, better than good actually, possibly the best way to cook your food, as cooking via a microwave preserves nutrients more than any other common cooking method.
Of course, you should always do your own research but for now here are a few cool facts about microwaves. There have been many proper scientific studies on microwaves… their effects on food and nutritional content, and whether there are any negative health effects from the method of cooking or the appliance itself… we will quote a few below but there are dozens from institutions such as Harvard Medical and the CDC. We have provided a few links at the bottom of this blog to check out more information if you fancy it.
Cooking time has a big impact on how much food is changed by cooking, the longer cooking times the more changes the food can go through, and this results in lose of nutrients. Microwaves cook food much faster than other cooking methods so the food nutrients are often superior in microwaved foods.
What are Microwaves?
The other really big issue with microwave conspiracies is the difference between ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation, it sounds similar but there are major differences between the two types of radiation, a key difference being their safety. Ionizing radiation is what you have in x-rays and nuclear power plants, and you want to have as little contact with these types of waves as you can, these types of waves can damage your body. BUT, and it is a big BUT, this is not what non-ionizing radiation is! I mean, it would make things a lot easier if they were called different names - maybe we should rename non-ionizing radiation ‘friendly food heating waves’.
Friendly food heating waves (non-ionizing radiation) are very low energy, and incapable of causing issues with the cell structure in the food or you. This is because the photons in microwaves are low energy, so when they pass through the food they are unable to do any damage, instead they simply heat the water molecules in the food, and create hot tasty food without damaging the structure of the food. These waves simply give energy to the water molecules causing them to vibrate and heat up your food. So, when you eat your food it is only the heat that has changed!
Microwaves often get a bad reputation and are associated with unhealthy lifestyles mostly because of the types of food they are associated with, a lot of microwaveable food is ‘bad for you food’ i.e poor quality ingredients in microwave meals, chemical laden microwave snacks and so on. If you are putting healthy food in a microwave, such as leftovers from a homemade meal or a product that is made with real wholesome ingredients there is nothing inherently unhealthy about microwaving your food at all. In fact, as you read earlier it will actually have more nutrients in it than if you heated it in a traditional oven, due to the short cooking time.
So for quick and healthy meals, microwave good-for-you food, as the nutritional level will stay higher than in would with almost any other cooking method and it will be super quick! A win win!
Of course, like everything it is good to know how to best use your microwave oven and ensure it is operating at tip top condition, here are a couple of microwave maintenance tips!
- Be sure to read your operating manual to ensure you are correctly using your microwave, i.e ensuring the correct settings for the correct foods, so nothing is super heated that could cause burns.
- Don't operate a microwave oven if the door does not close firmly or is bent, warped, or otherwise damaged.
- Ensure that you use microwave safe cookware specially manufactured for use in the microwave, like our Proper Good BPA-Free pouch.
Well those are all the Proper Good details for now, as always be sure to do your own research but hopefully this article is a good introduction to why we think microwave cooking is pretty awesome.
Thanks for reading/watching!
Chris & Jen-