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How harmful is reheating food?

There are many harmful effects of reheating food. Reheated food can cause food poisoning.

Deepa Gupta | New Delhi |

Why should you avoid reheating food? Reheating can turn healthy food to harmful food. Reheating food can destroy the nutrients in the food and cause food poisoning and food-borne diseases.

Foods that turn harmful when reheated

Leafy greens: Leafy greens like spinach are loaded with nitrates which can break down and form nitrites. When these vegetables are reheated, nitrites become toxic and cause food poisoning.

Chicken: When chicken is cooked for the first time and refrigerated, its protein composition changes on heating for the second time. The negative reaction between proteins when reheated may lead to digestive disorders. If you reheat it, some safety measures should be kept in mind. It should not be left out of the fridge in a raw state.

Rice: Uncooked rice contains spores of a bacterium that can cause food poisoning. The spores can survive even after rice is cooked. If rice is left out under room temperature, the spores can grow into bacteria which may produce toxins that may cause vomiting and diarrhea. Rice should be served as soon as it has been cooked.

Milk and cream: Several changes take place in milk on cooking because of the action of heat on the milk proteins. Some acids are produced which are not good for health.

Mushroom: Mushroom contains complex protein content. The protein composition gets changed while reheating them, causing high health risk to digestive system and heart. If there is some leftover, store it properly in the refrigerator and consume cold the next day. Don’t store it for more than a day.

Boiled or fried eggs: Reheating eggs can make them toxic causing digestive tract troubles. The protein in eggs gets destroyed when they’re repeatedly exposed to heat.

Turnips and beets: The high amount of nitrates present in these vegetables can make a dish toxic if it is reheated for the second time. So, don’t reheat soups and stews which have turnip and beet as their ingredients.

Potato: Store cooked potatoes in refrigerator as soon as they are cooked if not eaten immediately. Potatoes lose their nutritional value if they’re left to sit at room temperature for a long time. It is a storage issue more than reheating.

Oil: Cooking oil can turn into dangerous trans-fats if overheated. Also, walnut oil, avocado oil, grape seed and hazelnut oil have very low smoke points. They can become rancid on reheating. In addition to having strange flavours and odours, rancid oil may possibly contain carcinogenic free radicals.