Monthly Archives: February 2017

Why a Microwave Oven Is Bad for Your Health

First, let me state that I don’t walk around with aluminum foil wrapped around my head in an effort to shield my thoughts from the aliens. And I’m not trying to spread fear or perpetuate a hoax. What I want to do here is present scientific facts explaining exactly why cooking in the microwave is worse than cooking over the traditional cave-man fire, or your GE stove at home.

I was instantly skeptical the first time I heard that microwaving your food was bad. I read about a study that measured nutrients in cooked broccoli [1], comparing it cooked on the stove vs. in the microwave oven. I figured there was something biased about the study, like only cooking on high. Or maybe they were using the same cook time for both the stove and the microwave oven. Or maybe the microwave oven was heating the food hotter than the stove. I was in disbelief. After all, a microwave oven shortens cooking times, and that’s good, right?

I thought that all a microwave oven did was heat the food by moving the molecules faster. I was ignoring one very important characteristic of radio waves. Eventually, I put two and two together and realized something important.

But first, I need to explain how a microwave oven works. A microwave oven creates radio waves at a frequency of about 2.45 GHz [2, 3]. All radio waves are electromagnetic radiation.

When a polar molecule is placed in an electric field, it lines up with that field. It is similar to how a compass needle lines up with a magnetic field. Depending on the strength of the electric field, it will even stretch the polar molecule. But it will spring back as soon as the electric field is removed. So, the way a microwave works is, the rapidly oscillating electric field causes the polar molecules to move back and forth, increasing their kinetic energy (or heat). When matter is heated, the atoms and molecules start to vibrate faster. So far, it sounds like the heat from microwaves is no different than the stove. But there is one major difference. Microwaves have a strong electric field.

Electromagnetic radiation is a self-propagating wave composed of two components: an electric field, and a magnetic field. The two fields expand and collapse as they propagate through space. As the electric field collapses, it produces an expanding magnetic field. Conversely, as the magnetic field collapses, it produces an expanding electric field [4]. This is a simple explanation, and there are more details involved.

If the electric field is strong enough, not only will it stretch the molecule, it can also separate the charges enough so that an atom loses an electron. This is ionizing. Or it can separate a molecule. This is similar to electrolysis.

When electricity flows in a conductor, free electrons drift easily in the direction of the electric field. In a non-conductive material, the electrons are tightly bound to the atoms. If the electric field is strong enough, electricity will flow. The non-conductive material often gets destroyed when the electric field is strong enough to ionize the atoms and force conduction, which creates a plasma such as a spark.

A plasma is made of ionized atoms or molecules. A plasma can be formed in a gas, a solid, or even a liquid, but not in a pure vacuum. A plasma being formed in a solid is a foreign concept to some, but familiar to semiconductor physicists. Once the plasma is formed, the resistance drops very low and it conducts electricity easily. This is why arc-welders don’t need to use megawatt power supplies. The plasma in the arc has a low resistance.

The electrical resistance of foods can range from low to very high. Many foods will conduct some electricity when placed in an electric field. The electric field in the microwave ovencauses electric currents to flow in the food. This is similar to what happens when an antenna picks up current from a radio wave.

Electrical current can also rearrange atoms. For example, in microchips, the wires have to be big enough or the force of the electrons actually can move enough metal so the wire distorts until it breaks [5].

If electric current can rearrange metal, it can also rearrange the atoms in your food, changing the molecular structure. This happens either by ionization, or by momentum transfer from the electron to the atom. This is one reason why nutrients can be destroyed more easily in a microwave oven than on the stove. Even though microwaves are classified as non-ionizing radiation, at sufficient power levels, they can cause ionization such as a plasma [6, 7, 8].

Despite the slang term ‘nuke’, microwaves are not nuclear radiation. Nuclear radiation consists of high speed alpha particles (helium nucleus), beta particles (high velocity electrons), neutrinos, gamma rays (extremely high energy photons), or high speed neutrons [9]. Nuclear radiation is classified as ionizing radiation [10] because it will ionize matter at any level of radiation. Every radioactive particle has the potential to ionize when it interacts with matter.

Ionizing, or simply displacing a single electron sounds harmless enough, but this is enough energy to destroy biological molecules. This is what kills every living organism that goes through the irradiation [11] process, including the food. Cold pasteurization (a nice name for irradiation) really is nuking your food.

There is a tendency for most microwave users to cook everything on high power, except when defrosting. High is the default setting. The maximum power is also a major selling point for a microwave oven. The higher the power, the stronger the electric field, and the more damaging it is to nutrients. So, the lower the power, the safer. But only some microwave ovens are capable of true low power cooking. The microwave ovens equipped with inverter magnetrons actually reduce the power instead of just cycling it between high and off.

I decided to try microwaving some audio CDs to prove that the power level had an effect on the amount of damage done while cooking to the same temperature. Although it would be an honorable sacrifice in the name of science, rather than use my wife’s Barry Manilow collection, I thought it would be more prudent to burn some songs onto identical CDs and experiment on those instead.

I set my inverter-magnetron microwave to cook at 30% power for 3 1/2 minutes. I placed the CD in a plastic bowl and added 1 cup of water at 74°F. After cooking, the temperature was 158°F. I dried off the CD and stuck it in my CD player. It still played. All 16 songs were still ok. I then placed a second, identical CD in the bowl and again added 1 cup of water. I cooked it for one minute on high power. It went from 73°F to 162°F, so it got approximately the same amount of heat. But the CD was visibly very damaged. The CD player obviously couldn’t even read it.

Although this was a crude experiment, it illustrates the fact that cooking on high power causes more damage than cooking on low power. So, the higher the power, the more damage it causes, even if the final temperature is the same.

It is a well known fact that raw food is more nutritious than cooked. Cooking food destroys nutrients, whether it’s on a stove, or in the microwave oven. But microwaving food on high power can be more destructive than cooking on the stove. So if you use a microwave, use one with an inverter magnetron, and cook on low power. Cooking on true low power (not intermittent high) will greatly reduce the amount of damage done to the food.

Raw Broccoli, Cabbage Slash Bladder Cancer Risk by 40 Percent

Eating as little as three small servings of raw cruciferous vegetables per month, such as broccoli and cabbage, has been found to decrease the risk of developing bladder cancer by an astonishing 40 percent. This was discovered by researchers from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. The study is only one of several that have recently added to the evidence that raw fruits and vegetables dramatically lower cancer risk.

In this study, researchers conducted a survey on the dietary habits of 1,100 people, 275 of whom had bladder cancer. They found that among both smokers and non-smokers, those who ate three or more servings of raw cruciferous vegetables each month had a 40 percent lower risk of developing bladder cancer. Compared with smokers who did not eat that amount, non-smokers who ate three or more servings of raw cruciferous vegetables per month had a 73 percent lower chance of developing bladder cancer.

Keep in mind that this research only involved three small servings a month! That’s a ridiculously small amount of vegetable matter, and yet it had a profound anti-cancer effect.

Given that these cruciferous anti-cancer nutrients only stay in the body for about twelve hours, these study subjects only experienced a total of about 36 hours with these nutrients (out of a total of 720 hours in a typical month). In other words, they only had these anti-cancer nutrients in their bodies five percent of the time and yet, astonishingly, their bladder cancer rates plummeted by 40 percent!

Also remarkably, the researchers did not find a protective benefit from eating the same quantity of cooked cruciferous vegetables. This indicates that the anti-cancer properties of cruciferous vegetables are destroyed by cooking.

This is exactly what the leaders of the raw foods movement have been saying for years: Dr. Gabriel Cousens (www.TreeofLife.nu), David Wolfe (www.SunFood.com), the Boutenko family (www.RawFamily.com), David Rain (www.JuiceFeasting.com), Nomi Shannon (www.RawGourmet.com), Angela Stokes (www.RawReform.com), Brian Clement (www.hippocratesinst.com), Max Gerson (www.Gerson.org) and many others.

Keep in mind, too, that conventional medicine pill pushers have derided the raw foods movement for years, claiming raw foods have absolutely no health effects whatsoever on the human body. That outmoded view, of course, is considered hopelessly ancient by all but the most out-of-touch doctors and skeptics. What we’re finding today is not only that raw foods are good medicine, but in fact raw foods are the BEST medicine for virtually all the big diseases now devastating Western civilization.

The findings of the Roswell Park study were presented at a meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research in Philadelphia.

Why raw vegetables not only prevent cancer, but REVERSE cancer

Cruciferous vegetables, also known as vegetables in the mustard or cabbage family, are some of the most widely consumed vegetables in the world, accounting for 10 of the most popular vegetable foods. The family includes not only cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, but also arugula, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, daikon, garden cress, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radish, rape (canola), rapini, rutabaga, tatsoi, turnip, wasabi and watercress.

These vegetables are known to be high in important nutrients such as vitamin C and selenium, and they also contain hundreds of plant compounds that are known to fight cancer. One of these groups, isothiocyanates, has gained enormous attention over the last few years as an anti-cancer “medicine” provided by foods.

There have been 55 key epidemiological studies conducted on the relationship between cruciferous vegetable intake and cancer, according to the World Cancer Research Fund. Sixty-nine percent of those studies show a positive correlation between cruciferous vegetable intake and lower cancer risk. Interestingly, few of these studies tracked raw vegetable intake vs. cooked intake, and there is little doubt that the 31 percent of the studies showing no cancer risk decrease were likely tracking the intake of cooked vegetables. (Modern nutritional researchers remain ignorant about living foods vs. cooked foods, and they group them all together, oblivious to the fact that cooked foods lack the natural medicine of raw foods…)

Isothiocyanates inhibit both cancer and tumor development by directly blocking the carcinogenic action of free radicals. In other words, they prevent free radicals from attacking healthy cells and turning them cancerous. One specific variety, phenethyl isothiocyanate, has even been shown to induce cell death in certain cancer lines, including those that are resistant to chemotherapy drugs. (Oncologists remain indignant, however, insisting that cancer patients should never use food to treat cancer… that’s why they also ran Max Gerson out of the country…)

Heat and irradiation destroys the medicine in foods – just what the FDA wants!

These plant-based medicines, however, are delicate molecules that are easily destroyed by heat. Cooking these foods obliterates the medicine they contain. So does food irradiation, by the way: Microwaving broccoli destroys up to 98% of its phytonutrients, including its anti-cancer nutrients.

The FDA, curiously, wants to pass regulations that would secretly irradiate the national food supply without any requirement whatsoever that such treatment be mentioned on the label of irradiated foods. My recent article, “FDA Leaps from Tomatoes to Peppers in Desperate, Fumbling Fiasco of Failed Food Safety over Salmonella” explains how the FDA is exploiting food safety scares as a way to generate a fear-based public reaction that will ultimately result in a mass irradiation of the entire food supply.

Why is that an important goal for the FDA? Because fresh produce is just about the only thing keeping many Americans off pharmaceuticals and out of the hospital. Take away the natural medicine found in fresh produce, and you create a windfall of sickness and disease that doubles or triples the profits of the drug companies. Food irradiation is the FDA’s devious plan to sicken the U.S. population and accomplish this financial goal for influential drug companies.

Fortunately for Big Pharma’s sick profits, many Americans cook their vegetables right now, destroying their natural medicines and keeping those consumers in a state of chronic degenerative disease. “Cooking can reduce 60 to 90 percent of isothiocyanates,” said Li Tang, a lead researcher of the study mentioned above.

Cooking Broccoli Destroys 90+ Percent of Anti-Cancer

Levels of the beneficial, cancer-fighting compound sulforaphane in broccoli are reduced by 90 percent when the vegetable is cooked, according to a study conducted by researchers from TNO Quality of Life in the Netherlands, and published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

“Consumption of raw broccoli resulted in faster absorption, higher bioavailability, and higher peak plasma amounts of sulforaphane, compared to cooked broccoli,” the researchers wrote.

Eight male participants were fed 200 grams of crushed raw or crushed cooked broccoli as part of a warm meal; researchers then measured the men’s blood and urine levels of sulforaphane. Based on these measurements, the researchers calculated that while the sulforaphane in raw broccoli had a bioavailability of 37 percent, this dropped to only 3.4 percent when the vegetable was cooked.

Furthermore, it took longer for the sulforaphane from cooked broccoli to be absorbed by the body. Optimal levels of sulforaphane were observed in the blood and urine of participants 1.6 hours after eating raw broccoli, but these levels were not reached among consumers of cooked broccoli for six hours.

The cruciferous vegetables, also known as Brassicaceae, include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, arugula, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, daikon, garden cress, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radish, rape (canola), rapini, rutabaga , tatsoi, turnip, wasabi and watercress. Numerous studies have linked higher intake of these vegetables to lower rates of cancer and other health problems, particularly when the vegetables are consumed raw.

One of the plant compounds identified as partially responsible for this protective effect issulforaphane, the main member of the isothiocyanate family that is found in broccoli. All cruciferous vegetables contain plant compounds known as glucosinolates, which are metabolized by the body into cancer-fighting isothiocyanates.

Studies have suggested that sulforaphane may help activate genes that produce antioxidants to clear dangerous free radicals from the body. This effect is believed to be partially responsible for the observed lower rates in breast, bladder, cervix, colon, endometrium, liver and lung cancers among those who eat large quantities of cruciferous vegetables. It is also believed to help protect the immune and other bodily systems from age-related decline.

Sulforaphane is also believed to reduce inflammation, which can transform precancerous cells into tumors and has also been linked other chronic health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. At least one study has suggested that the chemical can even prevent the blood vessels of diabetics against the damage caused by high blood sugar.

The current study is not the first to suggest that most of broccoli’s health benefits are destroyed by cooking. Recent research from the International Agency for Cancer Research found lower cancer rates among those who consumed at least three servings of raw cruciferous vegetables per month. This mirrors the results of an earlier study by researchers from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., who found a 40 percent lower risk of bladder cancer among those who ate that many raw cruciferous vegetables.

There was no protective effect observed, however, among those who ate cooked vegetables.

The researchers in the current study noted that other forms of processing besides cooking might also lead to the degradation of sulforaphane or its chemical precursors.

“The sulforaphane content of raw broccoli was lower than the glucoraphanin content of cooked broccoli, 9.92 and 61.4 micromoles, respectively,” the researchers noted. “It seems that the conversion from glucosinolate to isothiocyanate was incomplete or that another reaction occurred.”

Don’t Chop Your Carrots Until After Cooking

Carrots may contain 25 percent more cancer-fighting power when they are cooked whole and then chopped, rather than being chopped up before cooking, according to a study conducted by researchers from Newcastle University.

Carrots are known to contain a number of important nutrients, including fiber, beta-carotene and other vitamins. Previous studies have also shown that they contain high levels of a chemical known as falcarinol, which has been shown to significantly decrease the risk of tumor developments in rats. As with many nutrients, however, the falcarinol content of carrots appears to decrease with cooking.

In the current study, researchers compared the falcarinol content of carrots that were cut up and then boiled with carrots that were boiled and then cut up. They found that the carrots that have been cooked whole contained 25 percent higher levels of falcarinol.

The researchers then had nearly 100 participants perform taste test on the two batches of carrots. Nearly 80 percent preferred to taste of the carrots had been cooked whole.

Researchers believe that like falcarinol, the naturally occurring sugars in carrots pass more readily through cell membranes that have been weakened by heat. Both the anti-cancer chemical and the sugars fare better in the whole carrots because there is less surface area available through which molecules can exit the vegetable.

“The great thing about this is it’s a simple way for people to increase their uptake of a compound we know is good for you,” said researcher Kirsten Brandt. “All you need is a bigger saucepan.”

Nutritionist Carrie Ruxton greeted the study as beneficial, even while noting that carrots are probably healthiest when eaten raw.

“This is good news as boiling them whole appears to help them keep more of the nutrients,” she said. “This could apply to other vegetables, such as parsnips which are from the same family and have a roughly similar size and texture.”