Diet Nutrition

Food you should never reheat

Microwaving that leftover pizza is a no-brainer, right? Not necessarily, according to experts.

From risks of food poisoning and spreading food-born viruses, to creating cacinogens in the environment, The European Food Information Council has recently revealed the five foods most likely to be harmful to us once reheated in the microwave.

Spinach and leafy greens

Some leafy greens contain high levels of nitrate, which can be converted to carcinogenic nitrosamines when heated. For this reason, the Food Information Council advise against reheating spinach, kale or any other veggies in that family in your microwave.

For a safer option, opt for boiling, steaming or sautéing your leafy greens.

Chicken and other poultry

Most cuts of poultry are at risk of carrying salmonella, and have to be cooked and prepared carefully to avoid contamination.

The biggest risk with reheating your chicken in the microwave is uneven heat distribution, causing some parts of the protein to be broken down faster than others, potentially upsetting the stomach.

To reduce the risk of food poisoning or stomach discomfort, rotate your chicken frequently to ensure even cooking from the inside and out.

Mushrooms

The European Food Information Council says the proteins in mushrooms are easily destroyed by external enzymes and microorganisms, which can lead to an upset stomach if not stored properly.

However, if you keep your mushies in the fridge for a maximum of 24 hours, it's safe to reheat your mushrooms up to the recommended temperature of 70°C, says the Council.

All forms of rice

If your rice isn't stored properly, or is left out in room temperature, it acts as one of the best breeding grounds for bacteria and food-born viruses. While cooking your food can often get rid of, or lower, the chance of bacteria spreading, reheating rice in your microwave will not kill the poisons.

Potatoes and kumara

Leaving cooked potatoes out in room temperature, especially when wrapped in aluminium foil so oxygen is kept out, can cause nasty bacteria and food-born viruses to grow and spread. Heating your food in the microwave won't kill these bugs, which can lead to food poisoning and general stomach discomfort.

To play it safe, allow your potatoes to cool completely before storing them in the refrigerator.