Reheating leftovers. Wow, that looks like the recipe for a super lazy day. Did that taste yum? Yes, a lot of foods taste better with each reheat session. Wait. How healthy (read it safe) is that, though? What do experts have to say about reheating leftovers? Ayurveda masters say that you would be meddling with the “energy.” Gastronomic maestros say they taste absolutely heavenly, specifically the stews. What should you do, then? Unless you want to do it the energy way, reheating is not a bad idea as such. Just spare these 6 foods – as reheating them could prove fatal.
1. Green Leafy Veggies
Green leafy veggies, specifically celery and spinach, and several other veggies that contain nitrates, should never be reheated. For a lay man, dumping a curry into the microwave looks just like changing the temperature of the food to his palatial preference. But if you stop and think before doing anything like this, understand how drastic the changes are. Going from the freezer to the microwave is like walking from Antarctica to Africa. How would your bodies feel? Similarly, the vegetables and dishes also undergo a great deal of changes chemically. The nitrates in these vegetables get converted into nitrites, and this could prove carcinogenic in some cases because they readily combine with amines and amides to form carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds (1).
Eggs are packed with proteins, and heating them at multiple temperatures can make them toxic. Also, it makes it difficult for your digestive tract to assimilate the food because it tends to get rubbery if it is heated more than necessary. Also, in general, heating eggs in the microwave is a tricky affair. In fact, it is dangerous because heating an entire egg with its shell intact creates immense pressure internally. It can either explode immediately in the microwave or on your plate around 30 seconds later when you sit down to eat. Sometimes, even pierced eggs behave this way. Make sure you make multiple piercings to release the pressure from the insides of the egg.
3. Breast Milk
There are three reasons for why reheating stored breast milk is a complete no-no.
One, microwave heating is uneven. That is to say that the milk will get heated more in some places and less in some. This is not only unpleasant for kids but also might burn their tongues if the heating is too uneven.
Two, the milk loses its fundamental immunological properties when reheated (microwave or otherwise). The very purpose of breast milk is lost if you allow that to happen.
Three, when you store breast milk in the refrigerator, the fats in the milk start separating. And if you forget to shake the bottle while reheating, matters get even worse. Again, the composition and properties of the milk will be altered. This is why lactating mothers are warned about reheating breast milk.
You should rather pump just the necessary amount of milk in the bottles than run the risk of tinkering with the quality of milk. Also, never use plastic bottles even if you think of reheating breast milk. Instead, drop your plastic bottles in boiling water if you want to warm the milk before feeding it to your baby.
Didn’t your mom tell you not to eat samosas from Chotu’s shop? You should have listened to her because she knows that Chotu uses the same oil to fry the samosas over and over again. Why is it unhealthy to reuse and reheat the oil once it has been used for frying? The research conducted on heating/reheating of fats/oils, as done by Asian Indians, says that this practice leads to the formation of unhealthy trans fatty acid formation and increase in unsaturated fatty acids (2). What is worse is that it reduces the saturated fatty acids in the oils. Microwave or stovetop, oil once used should be discarded without second thoughts.
When you first boil or cook potatoes and leave it at room temperature, there are high chances for poisonous bacteria to multiply quickly because they find this temperature most suitable. When you reheat them, particularly in the microwave, there are chances that some cold spots will remain intact. Cold spots are those areas that remain unheated, where bacteria continue to live and multiply (3). This could lead to food poisoning. This is exactly why they stress on the fact that you should stir the food while heating it to distribute the heat evenly.
Cooking chicken and eating it is the fun part, but if you plan on consuming the rest of it later, it needs some labor. Make sure you refrigerate the cooked chicken immediately. The next time you want to eat it, see to it that the chicken is superheated till its insides are smoking hot. This way, you don’t allow food poisoning-causing bacteria to come anywhere near the cooked chicken. Even if the bacteria dude manages to taste your chicken, reheating it till it is piping hot will kill him. Poor guy!
Jokes apart, consider reheating chicken on a stovetop because you can ensure that it is heated evenly inside out unlike in the microwave. Also, don’t go overboard with the superhot idea. Every time you heat chicken, you alter the protein structures, and this is not a very good thing for your gut and digestion.
So, what’s cooking, good looking? Heating last night’s chicken? I guess not! Ain’t this a wonderful excuse to cook yummy fresh varieties every day? What would you want to do – still heat last night’s chicken? Comment below to let me know.
Twenty seventeen says Rachana Chandrasekhar is a content writer at IncNut Digital. Of course, twenty twelve thought she’d be a vegetable vendor in an Italian countryside. Don’t be too overwhelmed if twenty twenty finds her basking in the raptures of driving the fastest car on some obscure racing course. May be this is what they mean by “calling” and she seems to have found it! Crazy and Whimsical is Her Calling.