Microwaves — where would mankind be without them? We use microwaves for just about anything: late-night bags of popcorn, occasional leftovers and let's not forget about our beloved Easy Mac. However, this kitchen staple proves controversial. Are microwaves safe to use?

A frequent microwave-user myself, I delved deep into Internet research in search of answers. As it turns out, this issue is pretty complex. 

Microwave Basics

Microwaves, like all appliances, involve crazy amounts of science that I never attempt to understand. But, if I truly wanted to deem microwaves safe or unsafe, I needed to understand the basics.

Basically, this appliance holds an electron tube called a magnetron that produces an electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength. Yes, that was English. I promise, that's as intense as the science lingo will get in this article.

According to The Washington Post, these emitted wavelengths are shorter than a normal radio wave. These waves cause the water molecules in the food to vibrate, which creates heat. That's why food with high water content cook pretty quickly in the microwave.

Are Microwaves Destroying Nutrients In Food?

This is a valid concern. In a 2007 study published in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers found that when microwaved, broccoli generally retained its minerals, but the broccoli lost its Vitamin C.

Hold on, now. I have good news: Microwaves, according to research, produce the lowest antioxidant losses in 20 veggies compared to pressure-cooking, boiling or frying. Better yet, another study claims that microwaves prove the best cooking method for maintaining cancer-fighting nutrients and the color in Brussels Sprouts. Harry Styles would approve

My suggestion? Be aware of the food you choose to microwave. We know that food with high-water content (think veggies) cook quickly in microwaves. Try steaming your vegetables in the microwave to maintain antioxidants and color properties. 

What About Harmful Radiation?

Perhaps the largest, and most frightening criticism over microwaves is the radiation. Microwaves leak radiation, that is a simple fact. However, does the radiation prove harmful to humans?  

To better understand this issue, know that radiation (aka the release of energy) is found everywhere. It is given off by day-to-day things (i.e. the sun and X-Rays) Laptops and phones, to put things into perspective, all leak electromagnetic radiation. Don't panic.

According to The Washington Post, the Food and Drug Administration (that name sounds familiar), "has strict limits" on the amount of radiation that can leak from a microwave in its lifetime. This limit "is far below the amount known to harm people." Am I the only one who just let out a sigh of relief?

To ensure maximum safeness, simply move away from the microwave when its in use. You'll lessen the amount of exposure received. No worries, when they are off, microwaves do not produce these waves of radiation. 

Can You Reheat Food In Plastic Containers?

This is also a popular concern that people have. Chemicals from plastic can leak into the food someone is reheating, which is not good.

However, according to The Health Sciences Academy, Harvard Medical School conducts tests to make sure that unsafe amounts of chemicals are not leaking into our food. Containers that pass the tests are the ones approved for microwave-use. 

#SpoonTip: If you're still worried about potential risks, use glass or porcelain containers (the safer alternatives) to reheat leftovers in the microwave. 

My Final Thoughts

If you're conflicted (like me) after reading facts that argue for both sides, continue to do your research. There is an endless amount of information out there that will help you decide if microwaves are safe or not. 

We know Kourtney Kardashian does not believe in using microwaves. Instead, she prefers to use a toaster oven. For roughly the same price, a toaster oven proves the perfect substitute for those looking to ease their minds. Kourtney, you may be onto something.