Every microwave oven contains a megnetron, a tube in which electrons (particles of matter) are affected by magnetic and electric fields, producing micro-wavelength radiation. This radiation interacts with the molecules in food.
All wave energy changes polarity from positive to negative with each wave cycle. In microwaves, these polarity changes occur millions of times a second. As the microwaves generated from the magnetron bombard the food, the cause the molecules to rotate at the same frequency.
Put simply, all this agitation creates molecular 'friction', which heats up the food. This unusual form of heating also causes substantial damage to surrounding molecules, often tearing them apart or forcefully deforming them.
Here is some of the damaging evidence regarding the microwave oven:
- Heating a baby's bottle in the microwave can cause slight changes in the milk and loss of some vitamins in infant formulas. It also converts certain amino acids (building blocks of protein) making them biologically inactive and unavailable to the body. One amino acid in particular- Proline, is converted into a poison that is toxic to the baby's nervous system and kidneys. In expressed breast milk, some protective properties may be destroyed.
- In 1991 there was a lawsuit in the United states where a hospital used a microwave oven to warm blood needed in a transfusion. The microwave had altered the blood and killed the patient soon after the transfusion.
- Food scientist Dr Hans Hertel, along with Dr Bernard Blanc, studied the affects of food heated in the microwave on blood components of individuals. There was a significant decrease in all haemoglobin (oxygen carrying element of blood cells) and a change in cholesterol values, especially the ratio of HDL to LDL. Lymphocytes (part of the immune system) showed a distinct short term decrease, in other words microwaved food compromises the immune system.
- By using plastic in a microwave you compound the negative effects of microwave-cooked food with the toxins leached from the plastic, including pthalates (Xenoestrogens), which exhibit hormone-like behaviours.
So in short, whenever and wherever you can use traditional methods to heat and cook your food or milk for your baby. And if using a microwave is totally necessary, cook for as little time as possible and opt for using glass bowls to heat your food in.
Extract adapted from 'Changing Habits Changing Lives' By Cindy O'Meara