Microwave ovens are pretty much ubiquitous in today’s modern world. You would be hard put to find a home that does not use a microwave to cook food and heat up leftovers. And the reason is quite clear: microwave ovens are extremely versatile appliances. Today, they are used in almost every household for a variety of purposes: starting from cooking and reheating foods and beverages to defrosting raw materials and bringing them down to a normal temperature. However, there is quite a bit of debate going on regarding the feasibility of using microwave ovens. Some are of the opinion that using too much of microwave ovens for cooking and reheating purposes is not a very good idea. Yet others are of the opinion that there is no problem whatsoever in the usage of microwave ovens. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of using microwave ovens, and whether one side trumps the other.
How a microwave works
First of all, we need to know exactly how microwave ovens work. Microwave ovens function on high frequency electromagnetic waves. These high frequency waves work by causing a vibrating motion on the water molecules that are naturally present in all food. When the water molecules vibrate, it causes a friction, which causes the temperature in the food to rise, thus making it warmer, and either thawing or cooking the raw materials. And microwaving cooks the food much faster than regular cook tops, because microwaves begin the process from within the food, and warms the food up to its outermost layer. This is the opposite of how cook tops work; going from the outermost layer to the innermost takes much longer than the other way around.
Positive effects of microwave use:
That being said, let us discuss the pros and cons of microwave ovens. Let us begin with the positive aspects.
Cooks much faster
First of all, as mentioned before, the time taken to cook or reheat food in a microwave is much shorter than it would take on a stove top or a cook top. And in this day of extreme busyness for every person, time is certainly of essence. Every person has to cook for themselves and maybe even for a family, and probably have to multitask getting themselves and everyone else in the family- maybe children as well- ready for the day. When you use a microwave oven, it becomes much easier to cook food quickly. You can also save time by cooking in batches and simply reheating the food in the morning or at the time of the meal.
And it is not just about the time; microwaves are truly convenient for modern life. You have to carry your food to your workplace in regular lunchboxes, unless you can afford the rather expensive self heating boxes. By the time you sit down to eat your lunch, the food would be quite cold and unappetizing. If you have a microwave at your workplace, all you have to do is pop your microwave friendly lunchbox in, set the time and temperature, and treat yourself to a nice, hot lunch. Yes, this could be done with a stove top or a cook top as well, but that would take much longer, not to mention that you would need to carry an extra bowl for reheating the food; no plastic has been commercially known to stand the heat of fire or a heated glass surface of an induction cook top.
When you cook the food in a microwave, you get to preserve most of the important vitamins and minerals that your food contains. When you boil your food, which is an essential step in cooking almost all items with vegetables and meat, you tend to lose Vitamins and potassium, which is lost with water. Some proteins also do not alter their structure when microwaved, and some vitamins will be immune to oxidation.
Negative effects of microwave use
All said and done, however, there are quite a few issues with microwaving your food.
Might lead to accidents
The biggest problem, of course, is the chance of accidents. Microwaves have been known to become overheated and burst, or succumbing to a technical failure that can lead to short circuits and serious electrical fires. In some cases, heating liquids in a microwave can lead to an unfortunate accident; unlike in regular cooking methods, the liquid in a microwave does not boil, and hence it looks deceptively cold. Handling such liquids can lead to quite severe burns.
Might release chemicals
Leching is yet another problem with microwaves. Sometimes, the heating process causes chemicals to seep into the food, thanks to the microwave friendly containers, some of which contain harmful chemicals. Some studies suggest that these chemicals might be carcinogenic.
Whether you should use microwaves or not depends entirely upon you. It cannot be denied that microwaves are extremely convenient, and a boon to modern life. It should also be kept in mind, however, that there are possible ill effects of using appliances on a regular basis.