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It’s time to lose the guilt, according to a non-profit scientific group. They’ve been creating a series of videos busting food myths. Two of their recent videos have debunked common thinking on microwaves and frozen veggies.
As the Washinton Post’s Rachel Feltman points out, microwaves use radiation to cook your food, but that doesn’t make them dangerous. In layman’s terms:
“Microwave ovens use radio waves specially tuned to excite water molecules. Since these molecules all bounce around and heat up at the same time, your food cooks more quickly than with other methods, where molecules get excited from outside in.”
What’s more, veggies cooked in a microwave need less time and only a little bit of water, unlike poaching, sautéing or boiling, so fewer nutrients leach out.
If you pull those vegetables from the freezer, another American Chemical Society video suggests you may be getting more vitamins and nutrients than if you pulled them from your crisper. Frozen veggies are packed right after being picked. Your farmer’s market picks may match that, but produce on store shelves may have been wilting there for days.
Still, there are other concerns around microwaving that are important to remember. The Canadian Cancer Society, for one, acknowledges people’s fears around microwaving food in plastics. "Plastic containers that release anything more than a small amount of plasticizers are not approved for use in Canada," the group states on its website.
Some of their tips include:
- Using glass, ceramic and plastic containers and plastic wrap labelled "microwave safe".
- Never heat or store food in plastic containers that were not intended for food. One-time use containers, like margarine tubs, tend to warp or melt in the microwave, and this may allow more of the substances in plastic to go into the food.
- If you're using plastic containers for storage, let the food cool before storing, then refrigerate it immediately. Avoid plastics and containers that are visibly damaged, stained or have a bad smell.
Read on for more healthy fruits and vegetables and on the top ten antioxidant-rich foods to add to your diet.