I’ll be honest, I can’t live without my microwave. I defrost everything in it from frozen cake to frozen rice. I cook everything in it from popcorn to bacon. I even use it to steam my towels for an in- home facial… a trick I learned from my cousin in high school. So thinking about microwave safety was the last thing on my mind.
I’ve always heard that the radiation from microwaves was bad for my health and I’ve learned the hard way never to put metal in my microwave. But thinking further about my microwave was inconvenient at best until I read this article about 5 things you should never microwave.
Although I might not care “as much” about my health, you better believe that when it comes to the health of my children I’m like a hawk finding its prey… laser focused and vigilant. So I did more researching and found some shocking things that were toxic to my kids when microwaved!!
How Microwaves Cook Food: For Non-Techies
There’s a little device in microwaves called magnetrons that create microwaves. The microwaves caused by the magnetron bounce around in the microwave and gets absorbed by any food that’s placed in it.
A lot of people think that microwaves cook food from the inside out, but that’s not true. Microwaves cook food from the outside in. The inside of the food gets cooked by the heat that gets transferred there from the outer layer.
That’s why you find most of the microwaved foods to be hot on the outside and cold on the inside.
We know the benefits and convenience of microwaves from experience. To be honest, I never really paid much attention to all the “buzz” around the health risks of microwaved foods… I guess I just chose convenience over health.
I became more interested after I had my kids. I can deal with some minor health issues for convenience… but my kid’s health? Oh… hell no. I will never be the reason my kid’s health gets affected.
With these issues noted in Health Effects of Microwave Radiation by Dr. Lita Lee… I rarely use the microwave anymore:
- Lymphatic disorders were observed, leading to decreased ability to prevent certain types of cancers
- An elevated rate of cancer cell formation was observed in the blood
- Increased rates of stomach and intestinal cancers were observed
- Higher rates of digestive disorders and gradual breakdown of the systems of elimination were observed
We can never cut out the microwave from our life, but just be aware of these major microwave safety items to keep your families health front and center.
25 Surprising Foods Not To Microwave For Your Kids
DON’T ever thaw breastmilk in the microwave. Besides the fact that it can overheat the milk and burn your baby’s precious little mouth, it gets rid of lysozyme and antibodies… which help neutralize bacteria and viruses.
If you’re feeding your kid small doses of garlic, make the zapping short and sweet. 60 seconds of it in the microwave gets rid of its alliinase, garlic’s cancer-fighting ingredient.
If there’s anything to be learned from this post, it’s this… NEVER, and I mean NEVER microwave anything in plastic. When you need to heat those nuggets for the kiddos, always do it on a glass or ceramic microwave-safe plate.
When you microwave plastic it releases carcinogens (a substance that causes cancer) directly into your food. And what you never want to do, is directly put in any carcinogens into your baby’s food… or breastmilk if you’ve been heating baby bottles in the microwave.
There was a study done in Japan about heating milk in the microwave. Just a few short minutes of zapping removed half of the B12 in the milk, which is important in normalizing brain and nervous system functions.
5. Chinese take out containers
The metal on the handles of the container can cause sparks and eventually a full blown fire. Microwaves hate metal.
6. Lunch bags
Kids paper lunch bags are made with ink, glue and recycled materials and these things can release toxic fumes when zapped in the microwave. Also, the high heat from the microwave could cause it to burn and start a fire.
7. Yogurt containers
Yogurt, butter, or sour cream containers should never be used in the microwave. Besides the “don’t ever microwave plastic” issue, these one-time use containers aren’t meant to be used in high heat situations. It could melt onto the food leaving behind toxic chemicals that your baby can eat.
Unless you like to clean up exploded egg pieces from the microwave, keep the egg cooking to the frying pan or boiling it the traditional way.
Some fruits can handle the heat in the microwave, but not grapes. Unless you like to clean up exploded grape innards from your microwave, just serve it up nice and cold to your kids.
10. Plates with metal trim
The microwave really doesn’t like metal, so if your plate or chinas have any metal trims on it, skip the trip to the microwave. Instead, use a plain glass or ceramic plate for cooking and transfer the food over to your nice China after the food has been cooked.
11. Sauces with no lid
If you’re an avid microwaver like I once was, I’m sure you already know what happens. If you like to keep your food in the container and not on your microwave, keep a lid over your sauces. They tend to explode in high heat.
12. Hot pepper
First, these fiery things can actually catch on fire. Second, when you zap hot peppers in the microwave it’ll release fumes that’ll sting and burn not only your baby’s eyes and throat but yours as well. So keep these fiery little things out of your microwave.
13. Travel mug made of stainless steel
Your microwave doesn’t like metal, so if your travel or coffee mug is the metal kind, make sure to keep it out of the microwave. Explosions and fires are good for no one.
14. Styrofoam container
Styrofoam will melt from the heat of the food that’s on it… and not from the actual heat in the microwave. As it’s a type of plastic, when it melts it’ll release toxic chemicals onto the food. So avoid cooking or heating your kids food in any plastic and always transfer it to a glass or ceramic plate at all times.
15. Frozen meat
If you’re trying to thaw meat in the microwave, give it a second thought. The heat of the microwave will usually allow the outside of the meat to thaw before the middle. This uneven heating can allow bacteria to grow. The safest bet would be to thaw it in the fridge or out on your countertop.
16. Cup of water
When you heat a cup of water for too long in the microwave it can prevent bubbles from forming. The bubbles allow water to cool. The superheated water with no bubbles will explode into an eruption when you take it out of the microwave, burning your hands. To avoid this from happening, microwave the water just enough to get it hot but not overheated.
17. Old ceramic
Those old coffee mugs passed down from your grandma might be a nice keepsake but keeping it out of the microwave and on the shelf might be best for you and your families health. Some old ceramics were glazed with lead and uranium and can be radioactive. In case you didn’t know, lead is bad for adults but especially harmful for kids as they interfere with the development of the brain and nervous system. Uranium has been linked to cancer, leukemia, and birth deformities. Microwaving these old ceramics will release the lead and harmful chemicals into the food.
If there is nothing in the microwave to absorb all the heat, the magnetron (remember, the little device that creates the microwaves) can end up absorbing the heat and self-destruct.
It might seem like a good idea to dry them out in the microwave but zapping them might rob them of their nutrients… and also cause fires depending on the type of herb.
20. Aluminum Foil
As microwave hates metal it goes without saying that aluminum foil should never be put in the microwave… unless you like sparks, explosions, and fire. Make sure to remove all foils from lft over restaurant food before heating it up.
21. Reheating mushroom
If you reheat mushrooms in the microwave it can change the protein structure of the mushroom. Eating this can lead to digestive and heart problems for your kids. It’s best to eat mushroom when freshly prepared. If you want to feed the kids yesterday’s mushroom, make sure to serve it cold.
22. Reheating rice
It’s the storage of rice that’s more dangerous than the reheating of it. If you leave the rice out for more than an hour it can create bacteria that can cause vomiting and diarrhea for your family and kids. Make sure you keep the rice in an airtight container and store it in the fridge.
23. Reheating chicken
When cold chicken is reheated it changes the protein structure of the chicken and can cause digestive problems for your family. If you’re reheating chicken, make sure it’s cooked completely and the inside is super hot!
24. Reheating Celery
When you reheat celery in the microwave it can become toxic because it releases nitrates that turn into nitrites. If you’re serving food for your family that has celery, eat it immediately. If you need to reheat it, remove the celery before reheating it.
25. Reheating spinach, turnips, beets, and lettuce
These vegetables contain large amounts of nitrates. When reheating them it can release the nitrates that’ll turn into nitrites. This can become toxic and cause food poisoning for your family and kids. If you’re reheating food containing these items, take them out before reheating.
Final Thoughts on Microwave Safety
Microwaves are a staple in our lives. We use it for everything. The point is not to remove it but to use it with caution. Keep these points in mind so you don’t unknowingly poison your family. We hope you found this helpful.
What are your thoughts on microwave safety, do you think it’s important for your family or is it one of those things that are being blown out of context to scare us?