When we think of devices that changed the world, most picture cell phones, the Space Shuttle, or, if you’re a history buff like me, maybe the printing press. Typically, a microwave oven is not something that comes to mind. Although, since it’s commercialization in the 1970s, the microwave has had drastic impacts on the way we now cook our food, the food we eat, and how the food processing industry works. A device that first started out weighing over 700 pounds and cost roughly $5,000 is now compact enough to sit on your counter and is found in nearly 90% of all American homes. Be that as it may, there are still some common myths that circulate around the compact appliance.
Microwaves Emit Toxic Radiation and Are Bad for Health.
Anyone who has ever used a microwave at a point in their life has probably pondered this to themselves at least once before. I can remember as a kid being told not to stand so close to the microwave because it was bad for you. That’s a comforting thought, “Don’t stand so close to the device that’s warming your food you’re about to eat because it could be dangerous.” Even though it is true to its name, microwaves do produce microwaves, these waves are not the dangerous kind. While long exposure to microwaves can lead to painful burns on humans, when placed in a controlled area, like a microwave oven, the only thing that gets burned is your leftovers.
Electromagnetic waves are created by a magnetron that is inside the microwave (this is what makes them so heavy). These waves cause water and fat molecules to vibrate, which create heat. The wattage of a microwave determines how much power the magnetron receives, which determines how fast your microwave cooks your food. A microwave like the GE - 0.7 Cu. Ft. Compact Microwave that has 700 watts of power, may need some extra time when cooking compared to the GE - Profile 2.2 Cu. Ft. Microwave with 1,100 watts.
Microwaves Alter the Food and Cause it to Lose Nutrients.
It does seem like a possibility. Using a machine that sends electromagnetic waves to your food to heat it up in less than 30 seconds has only been a reality for roughly the past 50 years, and it seems almost too good to be true that this couldn’t be a side effect. However, since heat is created by vibrating water and fat molecules in the air and food, no structural DNA or nutrient matter is damaged or altered in the process. This means anyone can reheat and reheat without the fear of losing any of the nutrients in the food. Reheating is convenient and sometimes necessary in small spaces where a full kitchen isn’t available. A microwave like the Insignia™ - 0.7 Cu. Ft. Compact Microwave, is great for dorms and offices, and it can be assured that none of the food lost any nutritional value!
Any Dish That is not Metal Can Be Microwaved.
Whether you have the Bosch - 800 Series Convection Over-the-Range Microwave, or the Sharp - Carousel Mid-Size Microwave, there are certain dishes that are suggested to be used inside of a microwave. Metal dishes, utensils, or packaging shouldn’t be placed inside your microwave because it could damage it, and in some cases cause a fire. This happens because the microwaves that we discussed earlier aren’t absorbed into metal like they are fat and water, so they bounce off and can damage the unit. We also talked about how you can’t get any negatives toxins or harmful health effects from using a microwave, but we can from the containers that hold our food.
I’ve been known to do it. I’ve microwaved food in Styrofoam and plastic alike. But, was this really a good idea? Heating food in plastics and other types of disposable containers can cause molecules from that container to leak out and be absorbed into food, especially for long periods of time and at high heat. A good rule of thumb is to always check the label on the container to make sure that it is Microwave Safe.
The microwave has gone from being a science experiment to a household appliance, and many of us could not imagine a world without one. Whether it’s over-the-range or on the counter, the convenience that a microwave provides is unquestionable. Luckily, whatever your style, your capacity needs or price range, we’ve got one that will work for you with a Geek Squad Protection plan to cover any mishaps!
Happy National Microwave Oven Day!