Did I get your attention? I was supposed to.
Cooking in the microwave damages your food, your health and can affect your thyroid. So let’s talk….
First, I KNOW what you’re going to say — that you can’t live without this modern convenience. Well, babe, I’m going to say you can’t live WITH it!
Think it can’t be done? I beg to differ!
I haven’t used a microwave oven in almost 20 years and it doesn’t slow me down at all. The only time the microwave is used at all in our home (which is rare) is to disinfect our household cleaning sponges. I never stay in the room while the microwave is working on the sponges either.
My son doesn’t know we own or have a microwave because he’s never seen us use it! He thinks it’s just a place we store small trays.
So why am I so opposed to this appliance found in nearly every American kitchen? I’ll give you 10 good reasons (*sources noted below):
1. It zaps the nutrients right out of your foods.
Numerous scientific studies have proved that microwaving foods removes up to 97 percent of the beneficial antioxidants, vitamins and other properties in our foods. When it comes to microwaving breast milk or even infant formula, the consequences are even worse: microwaving destroys the vital immune boosting compounds in breast milk and can can even alter some of the amino acids into substances that are poisonous for the nervous system and kidneys! (e–k)
2. Turns fruits and veggies into toxins.
Studies have shown that even very short exposure to microwaves turns the plant alkaloids in veggies and the glucoside and galactoside fractions in fruits into carcinogens. In short? It turns healthy fruits and veg into cancer-causing agents. (n)
3. Forms free radicals in your potatoes and carrots.
Microwaving has also been shown to form free radicals — those nasty little buggers that cause aging and disease — in veggies, especially root vegetables like potatoes and carrots. (n)
4. Toxins from containers can leak into your foods.
If you microwave food in plastic containers — including the ones that packaged foods like microwave dinners, pizzas, snacks, and popcorn come in — you’re exposing yourself to chemicals you won’t find anywhere on the food’s label. Studies have shown that chemicals in plastics — especially BPA, a known endocrine disruptor — leach into foods when microwaved. (b)
5. Radiation leakage.
The FDA monitors how much radiation is allowed to “leak” out of a new microwave, but as the appliances age, more and more radiation can leak out. If you use your microwave for cleaning, as I do, be sure not to stand anywhere near it while it’s running. And as soon as the door shows any signs of wear or damage, stop using it immediately! (c)
6. Microwave sickness.
If you are exposed to high levels of microwaves, you can get what is known as microwave sickness. Symptoms include insomnia, headaches and dizziness, brain fog, depression, a weakened immune system and more. For most people, this happens when they live near a cell tower, but that doesn’t mean the microwaves coming out of your oven are doing you any favors! (2)
7.Negative effects on your blood chemistry.
A Swiss study showed that people who ate a diet of microwaved foods — exactly the same foods as the control group, just prepared in a microwave — had higher cholesterol, lower white and red blood cell counts, and decreased hemoglobin. In 1991, a woman in Oklahoma was famously killed because a nurse microwaved the blood she received in a transfusion, and the altered blood was deadly. (o, 2)
8. Microwaves break down DNA.
One study was able to show that microwaves actually break down DNA in the foods you microwave. If they can do that to broccoli, what are they doing to you? (t)
9. Microwaves are very effective at sterilizing things.
That’s why they’re good for cleaning your kitchen sponges. But they are more effective for sterilization than just heat alone, so they are clearly doing something else to all those bacteria — and could be doing the same to us. (s)
10. We don’t really understand what microwaves actually do.
Sure, they’ll heat your Hot Pocket to the temperature of the sun — but we don’t really understand how they do what they do. Scientists have started using microwaves in the lab to speed up chemical reactions, but no one really knows why it works. The microwave effect is real; we just don’t yet understand exactly what it is. (u)
So! If you’re not a little freaked out right now, you should be! 😉 While I don’t believe in being an alarmist, there is too much research out there on the negative effects of microwaving to ignore. Personally, I’m not excited about the idea of using my body as a microwave test subject — and neither should you.
If you’re ready to break free of your microwave, here are a few tips:
- You can easily cook things like frozen veggies in a pot on the stove top with a little water.
- Toaster ovens are brilliant at reheating leftovers; just go low and slow with the temperature.
- Baby bottles can be warmed in a pan of warm water (just like they have been for decades…).
- Plan ahead! Thaw frozen foods naturally in your fridge or in a sink of water (in a sealed container).
- Pop popcorn the old fashioned way with an air popper or in a pan with a little healthy oil. Bonus: You won’t get any of the nasty flavoring chemicals in microwave popcorn and can add your own!
I’m challenging you to see if you can give up your microwave for a week. Try it now and share your story over at our Facebook page. Once you see how easy it is, I’m betting you’ll never go back!
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(a) 1Davis D R. (February 1, 2009) “Declining fruit and vegetable nutrient composition: What is the evidence?” American Society of Horticultural Science
(b) 2Rust S and Kissinger M. (November 15, 2008) “BPA leaches from ‘safe’ products” Journal Sentinel Online
(c) 3“Microwave oven radiation,” Food and Drug Administration
(d) 4Havas M. “DECT phone affects the heart!”
(e) 5Vallejo F, Tomas-Barberan F A, and Garcia-Viguera C. “Phenolic compound contents in edible parts of broccoli inflorescences after domestic cooking”
(f) 6 Kidmose U and Kaack K. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica B 1999:49(2):110-117
(g) 7Song K and Milner J A. “The influence of heating on the anticancer properties of garlic,” Journal of Nutrition 2001;131(3S):1054S-57S
(h) 8Watanabe F, Takenaka S, Abe K, Tamura Y, and Nakano Y. J. Agric. Food Chem. Feb 26 1998;46(4):1433-1436
(i) 9George D F, Bilek M M, and McKenzie D R. “Non-thermal effects in the microwave induced unfolding of proteins observed by chaperone binding,”
(j) 10 Quan R (et al) “Effects of microwave radiation on anti-infective factors in human milk,” Pediatrics 89(4 part I):667-669
(k) 11Lee L. “Health effects of microwave radiation-microwave ovens,” Lancet December 9, 1989 (Article)
(l) 12Thomas W. “Cooked” Alive.com
(m)13Microwave oven and microwave cooking overview,” Powerwatch
(n) 14“History of microwave ovens” Green Health Watch
(o) 15Microwave ovens: A danger to your health?” (January 26, 2010) Nutritional and Physical Regeneration
(p) 16Villablanca E (December 19, 2007) “Ionizing and non-ionizing radiation: Their difference and possible health consequences
(q) 17“Health effects of microwave radiation (Western view)”
(r) 18Sage C. “Reported biological effects from radiofrequency non-ionizing radiation” Wave-Guide.org
(s) 19Penn State University. “DNA and the microwave effect” posted from MailBag (April 8, 2002)
(t) 20 Kakita Y, Kashige N, Murata K, Kuroiwa A, Funatsu M and Watanabe K. “Inactivation of Lactobacillus bacteriophage PL-1 by microwave irradiation”
(u) 21Adams C. (May 6, 2005) “Does microwaving kill nutrients in food? Is microwaving safe?” The Straight Dope
In addition to the article you just read, I provide a ton of resources on healing your thyroid naturally, including:
- Our totally free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Report and Coaching Sessions
- Right here on my blog, where I talk about what’s worked best for me and my clients, as well as the latest research and resources I come across. You can subscribe to get new blog posts delivered right to your email by signing up on the righthand side of the page.
- My book, Healing Hashimoto’s Naturally — part memoir, part instruction manual for how I personally healed my Hashimoto’s disease.
- My exclusive free 6 Thyroid Myths That Can Keep You From Healing workshop — with info on the comprehensive Thyroid Fix in 6 program, which walks you through, step-by-step, the exact actions you need to take to heal your thyroid and get your life back! We’ve seen hundreds of participants in the Thyroid Fix in 6 avoid, decrease, or even eliminate the need need for thyroid medications.
- The incredible Your Best Thyroid Life Video Bundle, in which I personally invited 27 of the world’s top health experts to share their best tips for living with and healing thyroid disease.
Remember, no matter what diagnosis you’re facing, you always have a choice. Keep your chin up and take small daily action and you can heal and have a normal life again!
Jen Wittman is a Certified Holistic Health Expert, Chef, Author & Vitality Coach, who teaches women how to reverse thyroid and autoimmune conditions naturally. She’s helped hundreds of women decrease (or even eliminate) their thyroid medications and has helped others stay off thyroid medication entirely.
Through her free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Jen teaches easy and simple steps to thyroid healing that can fit into your busy day. She also provides print outs to bring to your next doctor’s appointment so you can get the support and respect you deserve.