Stock photo showing close-up, elevated view of uncooked mini pizzas filled with sliced pepperoni, pineapple chunks and grated cheese prepared on a baking sheet, ready to put in a hot oven
You Should Think Twice About Microwaving Processed Meats
By Aimee Lamoureux
Processed meats, including bacon, ham, hot dogs, and other cured or smoked meat, contain high amounts of additives, such as sodium nitrite, which may preserve the meat’s color and flavor but can also possess cancer-causing compounds. They also have high amounts of carcinogenic Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, or PAHs, formed when meat is charred or cooked over an open fire.
Studies have shown that microwaving processed meat can worsen its effect on one's health by increasing the amount of cholesterol oxidation products, or COPs, which happens when the microwave oxidizes the meat’s preservatives. If you must prepare ham or sausages for your next gathering, it is probably best to avoid the microwave and prepare the meats in the oven or on the stove.
It’s probably safe to say that the amount of processed meat one eats should be limited, if not eliminated, especially with the easy availability of healthier alternatives like chicken, turkey, fish, or lentils. Avoiding processed meat entirely may not be possible for everyone, but being mindful of the way you prepare it can definitely help lessen some of the food's negative impacts.