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Myths debunked: Five things you should know about your microwave

Photos

Unlike nuclear power plants, microwaves emit non-ionising radiation in quantities that are not harmful to humansMicrowave ovens like the EMM2017X cook without losing nutrients, and pack a grilling function tooThe EMS3067X Convection Microwave Oven offers more cooking variety and saves energy to boot

Despite having been in homes for over 50 years, the microwave is still considered  the black sheep  of many kitchens. No matter how shiny the surface or how nifty the features are, the myths surrounding this household appliance continue to be spread with little understanding of the facts.

Here are five myths about the microwave that refuse to die:

1. Microwaves cause cancer

The key to debunking this myth is understanding that microwave ovens work by using high-frequency radio waves (or, microwaves) to excite the water molecules in food. The resulting friction creates heat.

Radiation

Unlike nuclear power plants, microwaves emit non-ionising radiation in quantities that are not harmful to humans.
Photo Credit:
Phiseksit

Like any other device using radio waves such as handphones, these radio waves produce a type of radiation. Don’t panic, your food isn’t going to glow a subtle green yet. Or ever, really. Unlike nuclear power plants of X-rays, microwave ovens produce non-ionising radiation. While care should still be taken with the possibility of leakage from older ovens, non-ionising radiation isn’t as dangerous and microwave ovens do not generate strong enough fields to cause cancer.

2. Putting metals in the microwave oven causes fires or explosions

The common origin of this myth comes from people who have put metal forks or aluminium foil into the microwave oven and experienced the accompanying fireworks display. But that’s because they act as antennas for microwaves to arc off .

Microwaves actually bounce off metal, as opposed to passing through plastic, glass and ceramics. The actual reason why metal should not be used in microwave ovens is because a metal container would act as a shield rather than help heat up food.

3. “Microwave safe” plastics

What might actually be dangerous to put in a microwave is plastic. Heating plastics in a microwave causes them to release chemicals such as Bisphenol A that are harmful to animals and children.

Even if they are labelled “microwave safe”, a safer course of action might be to stick to glass or ceramics when using microwave ovens.

4. Cooking food in microwave ovens cause a loss of nutrients

Like gas fires and conventional ovens, microwaves are simply another method of cooking via heat. The longer food is cooked, the likelier that nutrients will be lost. Microwaving foods may even help preserve nutrients because of the short time it spends being cooked.

EMM2017X

Microwave ovens like the EMM2017X cook without losing nutrients, and pack a grilling function too

Microwave cooking can be healthy and is especially useful for steaming vegetables, rice and poached meats, with less effort and time required. Combination ovens like the Electrolux EMM2017X even include grilling functions, so your food can be prepared in a variety of ways while remaining nutritious.

5. Microwaves use more energy

EMS3067X

The EMS3067X Convection Microwave Oven offers more cooking variety and saves energy to boot

Energy efficient microwave ovens use between 50 to 65 percent less energy than conventional ovens. They also reduce cooking times, reducing the time spent on heating even more. In addition to cooking variety, convection Microwave Ovens like the Electrolux EMS2067X offer even more energy efficient choices. Using a reduced cooking temperature and circulating hot air to cook food, heat is transferred more quickly, thereby cooking the food faster.

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