by Jen Wittman, Thyroid Loving Care
Did I get your attention? I was supposed to.
Cooking in the microwave damages your food, your health and can affect your thyroid. So let’s talk….
First, I KNOW what you’re going to say — that you can’t live without this modern convenience. Well, babe, I’m going to say you can’t live WITH it!
Think it can’t be done? I beg to differ!
I haven’t used a microwave oven in almost 20 years and it doesn’t slow me down at all. The only time the microwave is used at all in our home (which is rare) is to disinfect our household cleaning sponges. I never stay in the room while the microwave is working on the sponges either.
My son doesn’t know we own or have a microwave because he’s never seen us use it! He thinks it’s just a place we store small trays.
So why am I so opposed to this appliance found in nearly every American kitchen? I’ll give you 10 good reasons (*sources noted below):
1. It zaps the nutrients right out of your foods.
Numerous scientific studies have proved that microwaving foods removes up to 97 percent of the beneficial antioxidants, vitamins and other properties in our foods. When it comes to microwaving breast milk or even infant formula, the consequences are even worse: microwaving destroys the vital immune boosting compounds in breast milk and can can even alter some of the amino acids into substances that are poisonous for the nervous system and kidneys! (e–k)
2. Turns fruits and veggies into toxins.
Studies have shown that even very short exposure to microwaves turns the plant alkaloids in veggies and the glucoside and galactoside fractions in fruits into carcinogens. In short? It turns healthy fruits and veg into cancer-causing agents. (n)
3. Forms free radicals in your potatoes and carrots.
Microwaving has also been shown to form free radicals — those nasty little buggers that cause aging and disease — in veggies, especially root vegetables like potatoes and carrots. (n)
4. Toxins from containers can leak into your foods.
If you microwave food in plastic containers — including the ones that packaged foods like microwave dinners, pizzas, snacks, and popcorn come in — you’re exposing yourself to chemicals you won’t find anywhere on the food’s label. Studies have shown that chemicals in plastics — especially BPA, a known endocrine disruptor — leach into foods when microwaved. (b)
5. Radiation leakage.
The FDA monitors how much radiation is allowed to “leak” out of a new microwave, but as the appliances age, more and more radiation can leak out. If you use your microwave for cleaning, as I do, be sure not to stand anywhere near it while it’s running. And as soon as the door shows any signs of wear or damage, stop using it immediately! (c)
6. Microwave sickness.
If you are exposed to high levels of microwaves, you can get what is known as microwave sickness. Symptoms include insomnia, headaches and dizziness, brain fog, depression, a weakened immune system and more. For most people, this happens when they live near a cell tower, but that doesn’t mean the microwaves coming out of your oven are doing you any favors! (2)
7.Negative effects on your blood chemistry.
A Swiss study showed that people who ate a diet of microwaved foods — exactly the same foods as the control group, just prepared in a microwave — had higher cholesterol, lower white and red blood cell counts, and decreased hemoglobin. In 1991, a woman in Oklahoma was famously killed because a nurse microwaved the blood she received in a transfusion, and the altered blood was deadly. (o, 2)
8. Microwaves break down DNA.
One study was able to show that microwaves actually break down DNA in the foods you microwave. If they can do that to broccoli, what are they doing to you? (t)
9. Microwaves are very effective at sterilizing things.
That’s why they’re good for cleaning your kitchen sponges. But they are more effective for sterilization than just heat alone, so they are clearly doing something else to all those bacteria — and could be doing the same to us. (s)
10. We don’t really understand what microwaves actually do.
Sure, they’ll heat your Hot Pocket to the temperature of the sun — but we don’t really understand how they do what they do. Scientists have started using microwaves in the lab to speed up chemical reactions, but no one really knows why it works. The microwave effect is real; we just don’t yet understand exactly what it is. (u)
So! If you’re not a little freaked out right now, you should be! ;) While I don’t believe in being an alarmist. There is too much research out there on the negative effects of microwaving to ignore. Personally, I’m not excited about the idea of using my body as a microwave test subject — and neither should you.
If you’re ready to break free of your microwave, here are a few tips:
- You can easily cook things like frozen veggies in a pot on the stove top with a little water.
- Toaster ovens are brilliant at reheating leftovers; just go low and slow with the temperature.
- Baby bottles can be warmed in a pan of warm water (just like they have been for decades…).
- Plan ahead! Thaw frozen foods naturally in your fridge or in a sink of water (in a sealed container).
- Pop popcorn the old fashioned way with an air popper or in a pan with a little healthy oil. Bonus: You won’t get any of the nasty flavoring chemicals in microwave popcorn and can add your own!
I’m challenging you to see if you can give up your microwave for a week. Try it now and share your story over at our Facebook page. Once you see how easy it is, I’m betting you’ll never go back!
(f) 6 Kidmose U and Kaack K. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica B 1999:49(2):110-117
(j) 10 Quan R (et al) “Effects of microwave radiation on anti-infective factors in human milk,” Pediatrics 89(4 part I):667-669
(t) 20 Kakita Y, Kashige N, Murata K, Kuroiwa A, Funatsu M and Watanabe K. “Inactivation of Lactobacillus bacteriophage PL-1 by microwave irradiation”