A microwave is such a convenient appliance in our time. You can easily put almost any food in it, set a good time and temperature, and in just a few minutes or less it's hot and ready to eat. But can you put any food in a microwave? The answer is no.
11 foods you should never reheat in the microwave
Certain foods, when cooked in the microwave, can produce catastrophic results. These results can affect your health, your safety, or even the lives of other people. Here's why you shouldn't use a microwave to reheat these 11 foods, as revealed by expert studies and official health warnings.
1. Processed meat
Processed meats are unhealthy to begin with, mainly because they are full of preservatives and all kinds of questionable chemicals. These preservatives are used to last longer, but they have never been good for your health, and heating them in the microwave makes them much worse.
When you microwave these questionable substances, you can expose them to chemical changes, especially the oxidation of cholesterol. Here are some research papers detailing this information:
The study: "Cholesterol oxidation in meat products and its regulation by means of sodium nitrite and apple polyphenol supplementation before processing" in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, showed that meats processed in the microwave probably result in several different chemical processes, including oxidation of cholesterol.
He also found some potential alternative preservative products that could prevent cholesterol oxidation and be more positive for overall health, although most processed meats don't use them even now.
The study: "Consequences of heating and microwave frying on the lipid fraction of chicken and beef patties" in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2003), found that frying chicken and beef burgers can cause an increase in 1.5 to 2.6 times in the oxidation products of cholesterol.
It sounds like a lot until you hear about heating them up in the microwave, which generates 5.3 to 6.1 times increments.
The study: “Formation of cholesterol oxidation products (POPs) in animal products” in Food Control (2007), revealed that cholesterol oxidation products are likely to cause life-threatening disorders and diseases, including coronary heart disease.
2. Fresh mushrooms
The danger of heating fresh mushrooms in the microwave does not come from the microwave process itself, but from the context in which they can be microwaved.
Fresh mushrooms are best eaten shortly after preparation. Mushrooms have many short-lived proteins that can go bad very quickly. If not eaten right away, they can harbor harmful bacteria and start to taste pretty terrible.
It is recommended that you only store fresh mushrooms in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before eating. Anything beyond that, and it's safer to throw them away. When reheating, make sure they are heated to at least 158 degrees.
Fortunately, only fresh mushrooms need this careful treatment. Mushrooms that can be safely stored and microwaved include canned, frozen, and dried mushrooms.
Overheating is an event where certain parts of the water can rise to temperatures above the boiling point of water, which means more than 100 degrees Celsius. When you heat water in the microwave, certain “hot spots” can develop where the water becomes overheated.
When you move a cup of superheated water, even to remove it from the microwave or tilt it for a drink, a rash can occur from within. This rash splash boiling water that can fall on you as you move and cause severe burns.
In fact, the FDA has a warning about water overheating and recommends the following more positive ways to use your microwave for water:
Always read the instruction manual for your microwave frequently and follow its recommendations and precautionary measures, especially regarding heating times.
Make sure you don't spend too much time heating water or any other type of liquid in the microwave.
Learn how to heat the water to the exact desired temperature (never near the boiling point) and familiarize yourself with the settings that give you safe but satisfying results.
Rice contains a surprising number of toxic bacteria known as Bacillus cereus. Even when bacteria are killed by heat, many of the spores produced will remain, research shows.
This presence can wreak havoc on the digestive system. This is the reason why rice that is left at room temperature after being heated in the microwave ends up giving its consumers food poisoning or “fried rice syndrome”.
Why did this happen? It has to do with the warm and humid environment of rice, which is a fertile space for the breeding of microorganisms. You can avoid this bacterial haven by heating rice to near boiling point and keeping it warm to a minimum of 60 degrees Celsius. This will kill the bacteria and prevent their spores from thriving.
Eggs are, in a way, autonomous. They are protected by their shell or the thin membrane that surrounds them, so when heated in the microwave, a lot of heat can be trapped inside.
This is compounded by the moisture that naturally exists within an egg. When you microwave them, that moisture heats up and causes a large buildup of steam. It almost becomes a kind of pressure cooker. This can happen even if the eggs are raw, cooked, shelled.
All that buildup of steam can, over time, cause the egg to explode in your microwave, leaving it pretty messy to clean. Worse still, this explosion may not happen in the microwave, but outside. This means that an egg can explode in your hand or in your mouth, spilling a burning egg on you and even burning you.
If you need to heat an egg in the microwave, crack it first. Still, it's a better idea not to microwave eggs!
6. Green leafy vegetables
Many green leafy vegetables contain nitrates, which are normally very healthy. But when heated in a microwave, nitrates have a chance to turn into nitrosamines.
Nitrosamines are organic compounds that some research indicates are carcinogenic. Some examples of green leafy vegetables that contain nitrates are spinach, kale, and celery.
It's worth noting that it's not just these types of leafy greens that run the risk of turning their nitrates into something more dangerous. Beets should also not be heated in the microwave for the same reason. For both them and leafy greens, you'll want to reheat them on the stove for safety reasons.
The benefit of heating fruit in the microwave is minimal. Most people agree that fruit tastes best cold or at least room temperature, and warm fruit can seem unappetizing. But even if you're in the weird and somewhat odd minority who enjoy the occasional hot fruit, you shouldn't be using the microwave for that job.
Take, for example, grapes. Some people have the false idea that heating them in the microwave can produce raisins, which will not happen at all.
Instead, microwaving two grapes can lead to a significant amount of plasma creation. That plasma is so powerful and substantial that it can melt a hole in plastic dishes or containers, which is not very positive for your home, microwave or smell.
Even if plasma doesn't ruin your bowls or plates, heating whole fruits in the microwave is risky in general for the same example as eggs in the microwave is risky.
Your skin can trap a lot of heat and steam thanks to the extra moisture, so biting into that fruit taken out of the microwave could burn your tongue. Fruit can also explode while cooking in the microwave.
Do you know what arcing is? This is what happens when a microwave begins to produce sparks by reacting with something metallic.
Carrots are dangerous for the microwave because many of them contain minerals left over from the soil. This presence can cause sparks, even when there seems to be no reason for it. It's okay to try heating sliced carrots in the microwave, but the second there's an arc signal, stop immediately.
9. Hot peppers or chili peppers
Not all bell peppers are microwave safe thanks to their crucial ingredient, capsaicin. Capsaicin is a chemical responsible for the hot punch that peppers pack. When you use a microwave to heat peppers, what you are doing is releasing that capsaicin into the air.
As a chemical in the air, capsaicin can cause a lot of pain. It could burn your eyes or other sensitive parts of your body, and worse, it won't just be you who suffers.
In 2016, an entire building in New York had to be evacuated after someone microwaved a bell pepper and ruined everyone's day. Residents began experiencing shortness of breath and coughing spells due to the capsaicin. So, save your neighbors and don't reheat the hot peppers.
10. Baby formula
It is not uncommon for breastfeeding parents to decide to express breast milk and freeze it for later use. This is a great idea and perfectly fine to make, but make sure you don't reheat the milk in the microwave,
You've probably already noticed that microwaves don't heat food evenly, even when the food is spread out on a plate. This results in "hot spots" that can develop in a bottle of breast milk, with uneven temperatures throughout.
A baby drinking from a bottle may accidentally hit a "hot spot" and find his mouth and throat burning.
This doesn't even take into account the potential carcinogenic consequences of heating a material like plastic. This is probably why the FDA has its guidelines on rewarming breast milk for positive results. Heat a bottle of milk in a container of hot water or reheat it on the stove in a pot made of non-toxic material.
Botulinum is a dangerous bacterium found in potatoes. At room temperature, C. botulinum can survive a period of microwave heat and affect those who consume it with botulism. It doesn't seem very likely, but toxic bacteria can do a lot of things. In fact, some experts refer to C. botulinum as the "most poisonous poison."
It's safe to cook potatoes from scratch with a microwave if you have the technical knowledge. But to reheat potatoes, just use a baking sheet and oven to get the job done. Make sure you don't use aluminum foil as it protects bacteria.
We are all thankful for how easy a microwave can make our life preparing food, especially for a busy worker. But there is wisdom in knowing what can and cannot be put into this machine. Make sure you don't reheat any of the foods we've discussed, and it will be fine.
Peripheral neuropathy refers to the many conditions that involve damage to the peripheral nervous system, the vast communication network that sends signals between the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and all other parts of the body. Peripheral nerves send many types of sensory information to the central nervous system (CNS), such as a message that the feet are cold. They also carry signals from the CNS to the rest of the body. Best known are the signals to the muscles that tell them to contract, which is how we move, but there are different types of signals that help control everything from our heart and blood vessels, digestion, urination, sexual function, to our bones and immune system.