When you go to work and want to heat up that brain healthy meal you prepared the night before, what are your options? If your workplace is like the vast majority of offices, teacher lounges, and other communal kitchens, you probably have only one option: the microwave. But is that wonder of modern convenience safe? Or is it turning your healthy food into a nutrient wasteland? As a Warrior, you need to know that it’s not only the foods you choose, but it’s also the cooking methods you use that make a difference in your health.
The Problems with Microwaves
Like any cooking method, heating food in the microwave can cause a loss of nutrients. Leaving your food in the contraption for too long can really zap nutrients and cause overheating. Plus, heating can change the chemistry of nutrients to make them either less viable or even harmful in some instances.
Research has found that microwaving garlic for just 60 seconds eliminated some of its key anti-cancer compounds. And another study found that heating up broccoli in the microwave stripped the vegetable of 97% of its flavonoids, more than the losses seen with high-pressure boiling, conventional boiling, or steaming.
Other problems include the fact that microwaves tend to heat food unevenly—for example, too hot on the sides but cold in the center. And compared to other cooking methods, they typically aren’t as good at killing bacteria and other bugs. That means a bigger risk of food poisoning.
The popularity of plastic food containers and plastic wraps poses another issue. When they are heated, plastics may leach harmful substances into the foods you eat. For this reason, never put plastics in the microwave! Avoid foam trays as well because they are not stable at high cooking temperatures. Only use products that are microwave safe.
If you want to avoid the microwave at work, I would encourage you to warm up leftovers in the morning at home on the stove. This should just take a couple minutes. Then put them in a stainless steel thermos that can keep them warm for several hours. Another option is to bring a cold salad or other foods that don’t require heating in a lunch box that allows for an ice pack to keep it cool.
Bottom line: If you do have to use a microwave, use it on the lowest setting possible and heat for the shortest time necessary.
Check out the “Rations for Brain Warriors on the Road” in The Brain Warrior’s Way Cookbook for more ideas about eating on the go. And don’t forget to enter the promo code TANA21 to receive 21% off your BrainMD order. It’s the ideal place to shop for your favorite Brain Warrior.