Better Body Clinical Nutrition


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Tuesday, May 14, 2024 1:21 PM

Excerpt from the book “Staying Health With Nutrition” by Elson M Haas, MD & Buck Levin, PhD, RD

Photo by Erik McKlean on 

Many people confuse the idea of irradiation with the idea of microwaving, but these technologies are very different. Irradiation uses gamma rays - a type of ionizing radiation with extremely high frequencies that are powerful and penetrating. Microwaves though are a type of nonionizing radiation occurring at vastly lower frequencies with much less ability to penetrate. Microwaves are fully absorbed by the water found in foods, and heat is produced in this process, cooking the food by heating up the water molecules. Gamma rays, in contrast to microwaves, are so deeply penetrating that they are difficult to fully absorb, so they not only impact the water found in food but the cell structures as well. It is this ability to alter cell structures that make gamma rays effective against bacteria. 

Numerous studies have been conducted about the effect of micorwave radiation on humans, particularly following the Korean War, where many members of the military were exposed for the first time to microwave radiation in the form of radar signals. (Radar waves are the same as microwaves.) No adverse health effects - including altered risk cancer - have been found in these studies involving nonionizing radiation….. 

Microwave packaging is a clear exception in this health risk area. NO ONE SHOULD MICROWAVE IN PLASTIC! In fact, most everything we put in the microwave should be removed from its original container and placed in glass…. Plastic chemicals leech into microwaved foods from plastic packaging, and these chemicals (like DEHA, DEHP, MEHP, or PET) increase the risk of cancer. They also disrupt the energy productions processes in our cells and the chemical messaging from cell to cell. Even brief reheating in the microwave should not be done in plastic. Unfortunately, this even includes the more durable plastic containers that are specifically sold for microwave use. 

Limit use of the microwave to reheating. This approach will decrease the amount of time foods are exposed to microwave radiation, because actual cooking in the microwave takes longer. 

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