Is Your Microwave Harming Your Health?

by Kelley Johnsen on September 12, 2012

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I have wanted to write about this topic for a while, so I’m excited that Kelley is covering it in her contribution to Happy Mothering this month! We don’t even have a microwave in our house anymore. It’s a great topic, and something many people should look into.


The Microwave has become a common tool in the kitchen, and may be harming your health.

Once the microwave was introduced, it was a huge hit. Imagine how exciting it was to have something that takes only a few seconds to cook a meal, when that meal used to take 30 minutes or more.

You remember Hungry Man, a full meal of roast, potatoes, corn and a dessert all in 5 minutes or less. Now, we use the microwave to defrost, cook, boil water and more. How many times do you use the microwave in a day?

The microwave achieved instant popularity with little research on the affects of the food microwaved. The research that I have come across is only showing negative impact on nutritional value. Fats and proteins are especially affected, making them more difficult to assimilate. These are building blocks of our bodies. These foods become a non-food and nutritional debt, without the ability to contribute to our cells.

Research in Switzerland has shown that foods lose their vitamin content and availability.  This should be a concern for parents that use the microwave to warm up baby bottles, frozen dinners, a cup of tea and so forth. If food loses its nutritional value, then it only satisfies hunger and is an empty calorie food, so your body steals from itself to meet its repair needs. It is also important to note that when milk is microwaved, the amino acids get altered and can be toxic to the liver and nervous system, especially for infants.

What happens when we use the microwave?

“Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic energy, like light waves or radio waves, and occupy a part of the electromagnetic spectrum of power, or energy. Microwaves are very short waves of electromagnetic energy that travel at the speed of light (186,282 miles per second). In our modern technological age, microwaves are used to relay long distance telephone signals, television programs, and computer information across the earth or to a satellite in space. But the microwave is most familiar to us as an energy source for cooking food. Every microwave oven contains a magnetron, a tube in which electrons are affected by magnetic and electric fields in such a way as to produce micro wavelength radiation at about 2450 Mega Hertz (MHz) or 2.45 Giga Hertz (GHz). This microwave radiation interacts with the molecules in food. All wave energy changes polarity from positive to negative with each cycle of the wave. In microwaves, these polarity changes happen millions of times every second. Food molecules – especially the molecules of water – have a positive and negative end in the same way a magnet has a north and a south polarity.”  Global Healing Center

The oxygen in water molecules reacts the most sensitively to microwave radiation. Friction from the violence in water molecules is how microwave cooking heat is generated. Structures of the molecules are torn apart, deformed, and become impaired in quality. When we heat food in the microwave, the cells and molecules are altered and destroyed.

What happens to the vitamins?

According to the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, they are destroyed. Especially vitamins like B12, which are important for our nerves and nervous system.  Benefits of B12 include: promotes production and regeneration of red blood cells, promotes growth in children, prevents anemia, prevents eye problems and aids in many vital metabolic and enzymatic processes. You see how damaging this one nutrient alone can be a serious problem. You can see food that are B12 sources and are destroyed in the microwave here.

What is the solution?

Start by reducing your visits to the microwave as much as possible. In regard to defrosting, plan ahead. You can place your meat in the refrigerator the night before and allow the meat to defrost slowly. When it comes to frozen foods, allow them to do the same by planning ahead and heating food in the oven or stovetop. If you like to make tea, try to warm your water over the stove or invest in a teapot. I personally love my electric kettle.

I know the first thing people think about when you think to reduce the microwave is “how will we have popcorn?” You can pop corn over the stovetop or in an air popper, it even taste better!

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