Friday, 30 September 2016

7 Foods You Should Never Cook in the Microwave

If you’re not a huge fan of slaving over a stove to make your meals when you’ve finished work, then you may reach for your microwave to complete the majority of your cooking. While you can quickly warm leftovers or even make delicious mug cakes for dessert in a matter of minutes using your microwave, there are certain foods that should never be cooked using this appliance. When you’re planning a meal incorporating any of these seven foods, use a pan or your oven as your mode of cooking instead.

1. Eggs 

There have been various online resources claiming it’s easier than ever to hard-boil an egg, no pots of boiling water required. If you’re planning on trying out this microwave hard-boiling method — that is, putting fresh eggs still in their shell in the microwave for a few minutes — then you’ll be very disappointed when your egg explodes. Incredible Egg explains cooking an egg in its shell using a microwave causes a buildup of steam within the egg. The steam builds too fast for the egg to breathe through its pores, resulting in a messy explosion. Make sure to crack your eggs and prick the yolks to ensure even cooking if using the microwave.

2. Herbs

It may seem like a brilliant idea to speed up the herb drying process by putting them in the microwave, but you’re sure to ruin your fresh herbs this way. Good Housekeeping explains putting herbs in the microwave totally ruins them, and it won’t dry them out the way you might be expecting. Herbs don’t hold a ton of moisture anyway, so nuking them in the microwave for too long can actually lead to a fire! Avoid this mistake at all costs.

3. Frozen meats 

It happens to all of us — you come home from work and realize that you forgot to take the meat out of the freezer to defrost for dinner. This common mistake sometimes leads people to defrost their meats in the microwave, which can lead to a partial cooking of the thinner edges of the meat while the middle is still completely frozen.
Reader’s Digest explains you need a microwave that rotates the food during cooking to have any chance of evenly thawing your meats this way. If the microwave unevenly thaws the meat, bacteria can grow from having frozen meat mixed with partially cooked meat. Defrosting meat overnight in the refrigerator is the safest way to thaw . Set an alarm for yourself so you won’t forget.

4. Breast milk or baby formula

It’s common to warm breast milk or baby formula, and when your baby is crying, you want to be able to do this as easily and quickly as possible. The problem with doing this in the microwave, the FDA says, is it often results in uneven eating. The bottle may be relatively cool to the touch, but there could be hot spots in the milk that can scald your baby’s tongue and throat.
Heating breast milk and baby formula under hot running tap water or in a pan that’s filled with warm water is a good way to evenly distribute the heat. Jars of baby food can also heat unevenly in the microwave, so transfer them to a dish to ensure more even heating.

5. Frozen fruit 

There’s nothing as naturally sweet and convenient as frozen fruit. Whether you love it right out of the bag when fruit is no longer in season, or you’re planning on adding it to your baking recipes, microwaving frozen fruit should never be your go-to way of defrosting it.
According to Lifehack, Russian studies have suggested defrosting frozen fruit can cause carcinogenic substances to form. Also, fruits have trouble standing up to the heat, so they’ll lose their flavor and texture as soon as the intense heat of the microwave hits them. It’s best to allow your frozen fruits to naturally thaw in the fridge or on the counter.

6. Hot Peppers

A lot of Mexican recipes call for toasting dried chiles to intensify the flavor. If you’re hoping to quicken the process by using your microwave, think again. The Daily Meal explains the capsaicin vaporizes when microwaved, which can leave you with a very unpleasant facial when you open the door.

7. Water for tea

If you’re the only one drinking tea in your household, then it probably seems like too much of a hassle to heat up your water in a teakettle. While it’s much faster to place your mug of water into the microwave for a minute or two, you actually can ruin your tea-drinking experience this way, as the temperature of the water differs depending on what type of tea you plan to drink.
Smithsonian Magazine explains green tea should be steeped in water that’s 176 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas herbal tea requires water to be around 210 degrees Fahrenheit. A teakettle is designed to heat water to an even 212 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can accurately estimate the temperature of your tea when using this device. When you throw your mug of water in the microwave, you have no idea how hot your water is, which can result in a bitter beverage.

4 Surprisingly Effective Natural Antibiotics

When we’re facing a bacterial infection few people give herbs a second thought. But, considering their effectiveness at treating a wide range of infections we might want to reach for herbs more often. Here are four of my preferred antibacterial herbs.
Garlic is well-known for its wide-reaching antibacterial effects. In one study researchers assessed the value of a garlic broth and its ability to fight off E. coli infection. They found that the higher the dose of garlic the more effective it was at killing E. coli bacteria.
German Chamomile
A German governmental organization (Commission E) approved German chamomile as a skin treatment to reduce swelling and fight bacteria, as well as a tea or supplement to alleviate stomach cramps. Researchers assessed the antimicrobial activity of an extract of German chamomile against the fungus Candida albicans and the bacteria Enterococcus faecalis. Candida albicans is a common fungal condition (sometimes, albeit less accurately referred to as a “yeast” infection) and E. faecalis is an antibiotic-resistant and often life-threatening infection that sometimes inhabits root-canal-treated teeth. TheIndian Journal of Dentistry published an assessment of a high potency extract of chamomile against these microbes and found that it helped kill both. This study could help explain German chamomile’s reputation for healing dental abscesses and gum inflammation.
More and more exciting research showcases ginger’s potency against bacteria and viruses alike, sometimes even when antibiotic drugs fail. In one study published in the medical journal Nutrition, researchers found that ginger showed a strong ability to inhibit bacteria. That’s important news as we collectively cope with resistant superbugs.
Oregano is a powerfully antiseptic plant thanks largely to its constituents known as carvacrol and rosmarinic acid. Unlike antibiotic drugs that work only on harmful bacteria, these compounds in oregano work against bacteria, viruses, fungi and even parasites like worms, making it a well-rounded antiseptic to keep in your natural medicine cabinet.
Research in the journal Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease showcased oregano’s effectiveness against Klebsiella oxytoca and Klebsiella pneumoniae. These bacteria can colonize the skin, wounds, throat, gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract and particularly the lungs, making oregano a potentially good option in a wide range of infectious conditions. Research published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology showcased the effectiveness of oregano against antibiotic-resistant strep infections, which are most known for causing strep throat.
These herbs can be used in making a tea or broth, taken in a tincture (alcohol extract), or taken in capsule form. A typical dose of tea is one heaping teaspoon per cup of boiled water, drank three times daily. Tinctures are frequently taken in doses of thirty drops three times daily. Follow package directions for capsules since they vary greatly. Always check with a qualified herbalist or physician if you’re taking any medications or suffer from any health condition before taking herbal medicines or discontinuing any medications.

Life Hacks That Can Make You Healthier (42 pics)

8 of the Worst Foods for Your Body

Many people think of healthy eating as consuming a certain number of calories per day. But the truth is, it’s not just about how much you eat but the quality of the food you eat, and how safely it’s been produced. Click through to check out some of the worst foods you can put in your body — you’ll certainly be surprised by a few! 

1. Microwave Popcorn.
Workers in microwave popcorn factories have actually developed an extremely rare form of lung cancer from inhaling fumes. If that isn’t enough of a reason to avoid the stuff, here’s another: the lining of the bags contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a substance that has been linked to several other forms of cancer and infertility. Plus, so many microwave popcorns are loaded with bad fats and sodium. Homemade air-popped popcorn can actually be a health food, believe it or not, so stick to that for your next movie night. 

2. Non-Organic Apples.
Last year, apples won the dubious honor of being the most pesticide-laden produce. Because they aren’t very resistant to pests, apples tend to get sprayed more. They’re also treated with pesticides to extend their shelf life.  If you’re an apple lover, always, always, always buy organic — or don’t buy ‘em at all. Your body will thank you! 

3. Soda.
Several studies have directly linked soda consumption to higher instances of cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, obesity — you name it. 

4. Chips.
Many brands of chips contain unimaginable amounts of sodium and fat — one bag can often be more than a day’s worth. But it’s not just the nutritional concerns to think about here — chips also contain acrylamide, a chemical that comes with an increased risk of several forms of cancer and infertility. You can also find the scary stuff in french fries.

5. Canned Tomatoes.
Aside from being far less delicious than the real, fresh, thing, canned tomatoes have the added “perk” of bisphenol-A (BPA) on their cans’ lining. This is the stuff nightmares are made of: BPA has been linked to fetal abnormalities, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, thyroid issues, and even cancer. It’s been banned for use in baby bottles, and overall bans are being considered nationwide. You can get up to 50 mcg of the stuff from canned tomatoes; the acidity makes them more difficult to package than most products, so a safe alternative has been difficult to find. Your best bet, though, is to avoid them all together. Stick to fresh tomatoes or, if need be, tomatoes packaged in glass jars.  

6. Non-Organic Celery.
Celery is the dirtiest of all vegetables — the Environmental Working Group has founded dozens upon dozens of different pesticides on the non-organic stuff.  As with apples, go organic or don’t go at all. 

7. Milk with Artificial Hormones.
Many farmers give their cows artificial hormones so they will produce more milk — good for their bottom line, not so good for our health. These hormones lead to higher rates of another hormone, IGF-1, which is thought to increase instances of cancer in humans. Look for milk that is certified organic, or labelled with either rBGH-free or BST-free.  

8. Margarine.
If margarine didn’t have any food dye in it, it’d be a delightful shade of gray. If that isn’t evidence enough, what is?!  Though margarine is often thought of as a healthier version of butter (there’s no cholesterol, right?) it’s also a wonderfully terrible source of trans fats — stuff that does, indeed, raise your cholesterol. Here’s your excuse to go back to the real stuff — or, of course, olive oil!

Facts About The Human Body (24 pics)

Interesting facts about your body.