Some people believe that a microwave destroys all food nutrients and can cause cancer. However, researchers from the Universities of Sydney, Canberra and Victoria did not find any link between consuming food cooked in microwaves and cancer.
In the study, the researchers also point out that cooking your food using microwaves is better than boiling or barbecuing, provided you use containers intended for microwaves. The research team also asserts that barbecuing fish can produce more compounds that can cause cancer than microwaving.
Other research has shown that the compounds known as heterocyclic aromatic amines (HCA) can cause cancer and they are more likely to form if the meat has been cooked for a long time at a higher temperature. Other studies suggested that these compounds are more likely to form if the chicken was microwaved than if it would have been baked, barbecued or fried.
However, no study has linked cancer and regular consumption of poultry cooked in a microwave. Apart from this, the team also found out how much nutrients are lost through microwaving compared to other methods of cooking.
“One study compared microwaving or steaming vegetables, such as cabbage, carrots, cauliflower and spinach, to pressure cooking. It found vegetables that were pressure cooked lost more insoluble fiber, which is good for gut health, than those that were microwaved or steamed,” the research team writes. In fact, boiling vegetables resulted to more vitamin C loss than microwaving it.
Moreover, the research team also wanted to find out if microwaves can kill microorganisms that can cause diseases. They found out that this can only happen if the device is set at a certain temperature at the right time. “Cooking to temperatures above 60℃ will kill most bugs known to cause food-borne illness, but the toxins produced by them may be heat-tolerant,” the research team pointed out.