How a Microwave Oven Works

How a Microwave Oven Works

I hardly ever use a microwave these days, and looking at how they work is very revealing. They radiate very short waves of electromagnetic energy which travel at the speed of light and penetrate your food. This causes the molecules in your food and especially the water molecules to vibrate. These vibrations create heat. The longer you leave your microwave on, the faster the vibrations and the more heat generated. This eventually warms, or even cooks, your food.

Ingenious. But also scary. Because microwaves are a form of radiation. And the word ‘radiation’ never sits that well with me.Radiation is everywhere. We can’t see it, but it’s there, and many forms have been proved to be bad for our health and we know it can do harm when we are constantly exposed to it. For that reason, just as we shouldn’t have too many X-rays or spend too long soaking up the ultra-violet radiation of the sun, so we should avoid over-using our microwave ovens.The other question is, does microwaving our food reduce its nutrient content? So far as I can tell, the science is inconclusive on this one. But I still try to avoid them.

The radiation argument alone won me over!

Do microwaves really save time? Yes. Marginally. But I mean, marginally. Because by the time you put your food in, stand watching it, stop it, stir it (as microwaves tend to make everything gloop together), then stare at it some more, I reckon my steamed veggies or grilled chicken or boiled egg isn’t far behind you! Is it also really worth the saved seconds, when so much research is also coming out saying we should slow down and eat our food much, much more slowly for our health and digestion? It’s a case, to me, of a false economy of time.

Microwave ready meals

Even though we can’t say definitively whether microwaves are good or bad for you, their frequent companion microwave meals are definite bad guys for stacks of reasons. For a start, they’re pre-cooked. Pre-cooking and reheating causes food to lose awhole load (if not almost all) of its nutritional value. The goodness of this energy-giving source is already depleted when you bought it, and will be depleted even more when you reheat it. These meals are packaged in plastic. Heated-up plastic is never going to be a healthy thing. Worst of all, they have avery high salt and sugar content, and are often stuffed full of other flavourings and chemicals to make them more palatable, extend their sell-by date and make them go brown or crispy without using an oven. Does that sound like the sort of fuel you want to charge your body with? Didn’t think so.

Iused to eat these things regularly when I was a soldier. Trust me: they never taste like they look on the packet and are a million miles away from a freshly cooked meal. They might be quick and convenient, but they’re a nutritional nightmare. Stay away from them. Stay smart.

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