Reaching for a frozen entrée from your freezer, reading the simple directions on the back, and popping it into the microwave oven can lead to a meal that took a total of three minutes. And it’s a modern convenience utilized in many American households. According to The Southwest Museum of Engineering, Communication and Computation (SMECC), more than 95 percent of American homes own a microwave oven because it is seen as “almost impossible/pretty difficult” to do without.

Here’s the rub: while your frozen meal may consist of Lean Cuisine-type products with healthy ingredients and low calories, the way you cook your food directly affects the amount of nutrients your body consumes. This common household appliance can significantly zap the nutritional value of your food and your health, leaving you susceptible to developing health complications due to continuous microwave use, and begging the question: is convenience worth sacrificing your health?

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