I am struck by the number of people who are still afraid to cook in the microwave because of the “supposed” negative health consequences.
The truth is that a properly used microwave oven (according to the manufacturer’s instructions) should not cause any damage to people’s health.
Microwave ovens are classified as non-ionising radiation, as are others such as radio stations, and consequently cannot produce ionisation in biological systems. Its mechanism, explained in a very simple way, is based on making water molecules vibrate and produce heat by friction between them. Therefore, the process of heating or cooking food by this method will depend on the amount of water they contain.
According to WHO, food cooked in a microwave oven is as safe and has the same nutritional value as food cooked in a conventional oven. But unlike a conventional oven, microwaves penetrate deep into the food, shortening cooking times.
To dispel some misinterpretations, it is important to realize that food cooked in a microwave oven does not become “radioactive. Nor does any microwave energy remain in the cavity or food after the microwave oven is turned off. In this respect, microwaves act as light; when the light bulb is turned off, the light does not remain.”
Basically, the dangers involved in the use of microwaves are related to the thermal risk and possible burns. For example, if you use containers that are not specially designed for microwave use, they can overheat and cause burns.
Care should also be taken when heating water, as it can “superheat” above its boiling point in a short time (also called boiling delay or defervescence), which can cause it to boil explosively with the risk of burns to the user. If you heat water in the microwave, wait a few seconds before taking it.
In relation to the plastic plates or containers used to heat the food or the paper film, all of them must have the indication of use in the microwave oven.
From a nutritional point of view, heating food alters vitamins such as C and proteins, regardless of the method used to heat it. Because preparation times are shorter in the microwave, it helps preserve vitamin C and other nutrients.
Today we want to give you some tips for cooking or heating food in the microwave and preserving its taste or nutritional richness.
- To calculate microwave cooking times, keep in mind that the depth of the dish affects preparation time and uniformity. Foods in a shallow dish cook faster than in a deep dish.
- Do not cook large pieces of food because they will not cook homogeneously, which carries a risk of not killing all possible bacteria (especially in the case of meat or fish). Better cut food into regular pieces so that it is cooked quickly and evenly.
- Be careful not to cook food too long in the microwave, it is better to do so for shorter periods of time, thus checking when the food is cooked.
- You can cover the vegetables to allow them to steam. If you don’t have a special pot, use film paper to cover them, but be sure to check that the brand you buy is suitable for the microwave oven. You can puncture the surface to prevent steam from building up.
- If you don’t use the microwave because of unfounded fears, I hope I’ve given you enough reasons to get rid of the fear. Microwave cooking is healthy as long as good practices are followed.
Tofu is a major ingredient of the Oriental diet. It originated in China but came to Japan in the eighth century. In the 1960s it became popular in the West.
This food is of vegetable origin and is made from soybeans. First the drink or soybean juice is prepared and then subjected to a coagulation process. It is a process similar to cheese making.
Its flavor is neutral, being ideal to combine with all kinds of food because it takes the taste of what you cook with.
From the nutritional point of view, this food contains a good percentage of proteins of high biological value (since it includes all the essential amino acids). These proteins are very highly digestible (i.e. they are easier to digest than animal proteins). This makes tofu especially interesting for people with different stomach problems.
Another aspect that gives this food its nutritional richness is its calcium content (up to 300 mg per 100 grams of tofu), this mineral being essential to maintain good bone health. In addition, it contains a good amount of fiber and very few calories, which make tofu a very interesting product when it comes to healthy eating.
It is rich in phytoestrogens (a group of natural compounds found in many plant foods). They are structurally similar to estrogens (female hormones), allowing them to mimic or block the effects produced by that hormone.
Diets rich in phytoestrogens have been linked to a lower risk of several types of cancer, including prostate, colon, intestinal, endometrial, and ovarian cancers. However, the scientific evidence is ambiguous as to the relationship between phytoestrogen intake and breast cancer. Therefore, women who have or had estrogen-sensitive breast tumors should decrease consumption of soy and its derivatives.
Diets rich in phytoestrogens in principle do not affect healthy adults. However, they can cause some deterioration in the health of people with thyroid problems.
Solving chronic inflammation or excess inflammation is one of the current challenges to improve the health of the population.
There are factors related to the current lifestyle that increase the risk of suffering from chronic inflammation such as stress, poor diet, smoking, toxins in the air we breathe or in the water we drink, and aging itself.
Inflammation is guilty of causing or aggravating pathologies such as arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately not everything is so black as Nature puts remedies at our fingertips such as different spices.
On this occasion we are going to talk about turmeric for its high anti-inflammatory power among other benefits.
This is a very common spice in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. In addition to being used to flavor foods, it has also been used for centuries in Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine. It is known to have anti-inflammatory properties (1), antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic and is also a great antioxidant.
The benefits of turmeric are mostly due to the curcuminoids it contains, the most common being curcumin.
Oxidative damage is behind aging and some chronic diseases. Curcumin, in addition to being a potent anti-inflammatory, is a great antioxidant that can neutralize the free radicals that produce oxidative damage and increase the activity of the body’s antioxidant enzymes.
In addition, using it simply as a food condiment has shown other benefits such as lowering cholesterol levels. Other research (2) also demonstrates its benefits in controlling insulin and blood sugar.
Regarding excess weight, taking one teaspoon of turmeric a day has been shown to help control it. One study showed that this spice inhibits the process of converting excess energy into fatty deposits in the body, which could be a weight control mechanism. (3)
The advantage is that you can easily incorporate the above benefits by including this spice in your dishes. For example, if you add it to vegetables, you will be increasing their antioxidant potential.
Keep in mind that this spice is poorly absorbed, although cooking it in medium fat (with olive oil) or supplementing it with black pepper will improve its absorption.