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What foods you should not heat in the microwave oven?


Since its generalization in homes more than 40 years ago, the microwave oven has become an indispensable household appliance and most of the population has become familiar with the basic precautions for its use.

For example, it is well known that heating metal objects in this appliance (including aluminum foil) can be a spectacular phenomenon, or that heating plastics in this way can melt them and release toxic vapors. What, however, many are unaware of is that there are several foods that may be unfit for consumption if prepared using this appliance.

Meat and fish that are not suitable for raw consumption.

One of the characteristics to take into account when using the microwave is that food is not cooked evenly, but from the surface inwards. Therefore, it is possible that parts of the food may be left uncooked or not properly heated.

This means that microorganisms and parasites may be left unremoved by the heat, which is especially dangerous in foods such as meat (especially, but not only, pork) or fish that have not been previously frozen.

Raw eggs in shell or cooked whole eggs

A curious phenomenon occurs with raw eggs in the shell and cooked eggs (whether they are in the shell or not), and that is that if they are heated in the microwave, steam forms inside, which increases their pressure in a similar way to what happens in a steamer but without an outlet for the excess pressure.

This means that the egg can literally explode, becoming very hot and potentially causing burns. In addition, it should be mentioned that, due to the spread of heat, this can happen a little later, when you hold it in your hands after taking it out of the microwave.

Breast milk

There are many mothers who save breast milk and freeze it for later use, which in itself does not pose any problem or danger. However, if we do this, it is important not to heat it in the microwave.

As we pointed out earlier, the heat provided by the microwave oven to the food is not evenly distributed, which can lead to ‘hot spots’. If we add to this the greater sensitivity of babies, we can understand why there is some risk of burns in the mouth or throat.

Processed meats

Processed meats, such as sausages or cured meats, should also not be heated in the microwave oven. The reason for this is that they often contain a number of preservative products that, when subjected to microwave waves, release cholesterol oxidation byproducts.

As explained in an article exposing this effect, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, these substances are linked to a higher incidence of coronary heart disease.

Green leafy vegetables

Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach or celery, naturally contain substances, nitrates, which in this form are beneficial to our health.

However, microwaves can convert these nitrates into nitrosamines, which can be carcinogenic, according to research published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine.


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