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Beware! Diseases You Never Knew Your Microwave Was Causing!

Microwaves surely are convenient but you should be aware of its disadvantages

Beware! Diseases You Never Knew Your Microwave Was Causing!

Microwaves are convenience at its best but they are a serious health hazard too!


  1. Microwave oven affects food quality
  2. Microwave ovens have an adverse impact on our health
  3. Microwave radiations can cause cancer

Microwave ovens are one of the most common kitchen appliances that are found in every Indian kitchen. The appliance is of great convenience in terms of cooking and re-heating already cooked food and that's why people use them. From boiling water, heating milk to cooking foods like maggie noodles,  popcorn and cakes, microwave ovens are like a saviour for people who keep busy and need quick fixes. However, convenience like this comes with a price. According to a study conducted by Swiss scientist Hans Hertel, cooking food in the microwave depletes it of its nutritious qualities. The high radiation with which it heats/cooks the food deforms the molecules in food, thereby creating harmful radioactive compounds.

How do microwave ovens work?

What a convenience it is to simply press the 'start' button and wait for only a minute to have your food heated from last night!

Now let's see what actually happens when you push that 'start' button. Immediately after we push the button, tiny, energetic waves start moving through the inside compartment of your oven. These microwaves release electromagnetic radiation. The waves vibrate rapidly, at about 2,500 megahertz (2.5 gigahertz) a minute. That's about the same frequency as your cell phone. Microwave ovens release non-ionising radiation which is potentially recognized to be cancer-causing. 

What are the health risks involved with microwaves?

According to numerous researches, microwave ovens can sometimes weaken your immune system. It reduces your resistance to bacterial and viral infections and if one consumes microwaved food for a long period of time. According to the study conducted by Hans, microwaving food leads to food degeneration. Another study concluded that microwaves can also lead to elevated blood sugar levels in certain people. If you are one of those who would do not have much time to cook food or warm it in the conventional or traditional manner, here's a list of health risks you are placing yourself at:

1. Insomnia

Microwaved food can sometimes get toxic and affect your sleeping pattern leading to insomnia.

2. Loss of nutrition

When you heat or cook food in a microwave, the nutrients and antioxidants in your food are lost. This  may even lead to increased cholesterol levels.

According to Dr Gita Prakash, family physician at Max Hospital, "microwaves should be used only when absolutely needed and used correctly. Nowadays, we have a tendency to use it for everything - cooking, re-heating, baking etc and this is not a good practice. Also, when using a microwave, it is important to use it correctly with the right containers. Do not use plastic as microwaves do emit harmful radiations but we can minimize the effect by following the correct instructions".

How To Use Your Microwaves Safely

Having mentioned the cons, it is not to say one shouldn't use this innovation. You can use the microwave as there is also research supporting safety of microwave use, but you have to know how to use it correctly. Though using a microwave can be a healthful, easy way to cook but be sure that it is in a good condition and you must use only a microwave-safe container. Here are a few safety measures you can take.

  • Avoid using a microwave oven to heat/cook for infants or children.
  • Stir food thoroughly while you cook/heat in microwave and never microwave longer than the recommended time.
  • If you have to use the microwave, always use microwave safe containers.
  • Use a microwave to cook vegetables instead of heating processed meats and snacks.
  • Always test the temperature of the breast milk if at all heated in microwave oven. Ideally, avoid heating it in the microwave
  • Do not overheat water and other liquids. In fact, avoid using microwave for heating/cooking liquid food or water. 
(Dr Gita Prakash is a Family physician at Max Hospital, Panchsheel)

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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