No matter how grand your culinary intentions, it is always tempting to just use the microwave.
It’s easy, fast, and – for the eco-warriors – energy-efficient. But that shortcut comes with a plethora of health risks.
From cataracts to cancer, radiation expert Professor Magda Havas of Trent University tells us the dangers of lazily popping our meals in the oven – and watching them cook.
WHY IT IS DANGEROUS
‘The most important thing for people to know is that microwaves leak radiation,’ Professor Havas explains.
‘They aren’t meant to. They have a metal mesh that’s supposed to protect the waves from leaking.
‘But I’ve tested over a dozen of the most popular brands, and every single one that I’ve tested has leaked.’
HOW IT AFFECTS YOUR FOOD
‘Microwaves reduce the nutritional content in all food.
‘Enzymes are denatured by the process of radiation, meaning you get a fraction of the nutrients you would get otherwise.’
To put that into context, Professor Havas explains why microwaves were banned from the sheep farm she used to work on.
When lambs are born, like babies, they need their mother’s first milk because it contains colostrum, which has high concentrations of nutrients and antibodies.
‘We normally milk out a sheep and store the colostrum in the freezer in case other sheep cannot produce milk and their lambs need it,’ Professor Havas explains.
‘We are specifically told not to put it in the microwave oven because it destroys the colostrum.’
HOW IT AFFECTS YOU
The radiation waves used in your oven are actually designed to heat water.
Our bodies are majority water so our bdoesi naturally absorb microwave radiation.
There are conflicting opinions on the dangers of a microwave.
Cataracts are the most common cause of poor vision in people over the age of 40. They are also the principal cause of blindness in the world, ahead of glaucoma.
Aside from trying new glasses and anti-glare sunglasses, the only effective treatment is surgery.
‘Standing in front of your oven watching your food go around unequivocally causes cataracts,’ Professor Havas says.
‘If you do it over and over and over again you will damage your eyes.’
There are carcinogens in many elements of a microwaved meal.
Firstly, many plastic containers leak carcinogens into the food when they are heated up.
Secondly, microwaveable food contains specific chemicals to aid the process, such as BPA, polyethylene terpthalate (PET), benzene, toluene, and xylene – which have all been linked to cancer.
Affects your heart
In her own research, Professor Havas found ‘unequivocal evidence’ that microwave frequency affects the heart.
She monitored the heart rate of people standing near microwave ovens.
Every person monitored experienced a variation in heart rate while the oven was on.
Changes your blood levels
A study in Switzerland found people who ate microwaveable meals experienced a drop in red blood cells, and a rise in white blood cells and cholesterol levels.
HOW TO AVOID THE DANGERS
Despite the dangers and her research, Professor Havas does own a microwave for speedy, energy-efficient dinners.
But she uses it in a very specific way.
Leave the room
‘It’s a personal choice, I’m not going to tell anyone not to use it because I understand how useful they are.
‘If you’re going to use it, go out of the kitchen.
‘Don’t just stand on the other side of a wall, really walk away. The waves travel through walls so you are still at risk.’
Keep kids out
‘Don’t use it when you have kids in the house.
‘I never let my grandkids near it.’
Written by Mia DeGraaf for The Daily Mail ~ August 17, 2016.
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