When we prepare dishes and there are leftovers, the advisable thing is to store them in the refrigerator for subsequent use. When the need arises go use those leftovers, reheating them is the next thing to do so they can be in a better state for consumption. It may not occur to us that reheating of food has some adverse effect on our health, but it actually does.
Reheating can turn a healthy food to a harmful food. This is because reheating destroys the nutrients in the food and gives rise to bacteria which can cause food-poisoning and food borne diseases. Foods that are reheated can become rubbery and soggy as well. The negative aspects of reheating food affects certain foods more than others. Some foods should never be reheated, such foods include;
This may surprise you but rice should not be reheated. According to Food Standard Agency(FSA), you could suffer from food poisoning when you eat reheated rice. This is as a result of the presence of a highly resistant bacteria called Bacillus cereus. Heat kills the bacteria, but they produce spores that are toxic in nature. Once you reheat rice and it is kept at room temperature, any spores in it can multiply and cause food poisoning when the rice is consumed.
- Green Vegetables
Avoid reheating green vegetables like carrot, spinach and leafy vegetables. These vegetables are rich in nitrate and when heated they become toxic. They release carcinogenic properties which is a causative agent for cancer. Most of them contain high amount of iron and reheating iron causes it to oxidize. Iron oxidation generates dangerous free radicals which are known to cause many diseases, including infertility and cancer.
Chickens should not be reheated because the protein composition in them changes completely when they are reheated. This change in protein composition can cause problem in the digestive system. Avoid reheating chicken, but if you must do, make sure to heat on a low temperature.
Never reheat a high-protein food. It is known that eggs are rich sources of protein. Cooked egg or boiled egg can cause serious harm when exposed to heat again. When eggs have stayed for a long period of time, do not reheat them, rather, eat them cold. High protein foods contain a lot of nitrogen and reheating nitrogen causes it to oxidised, which further causes cancer.
Reheating of potatoes can lead to the production of Clostridium botulinum which is the bacteria that causes botulism. Botulism is a very fatal type of food poisoning and can lead to death in most cases. Even leaving cooked potato out in room temperature can cause the increase of bacteria production. It is best to consume potatoes immediately after cooking.
Never leave mushroom till the next day. This is because, mushrooms are power houses of proteins and they also have appreciable amounts of minerals. Reheating them will cause this proteins to break down further and invariably cause havoc in the digestive system. Reheating mushrooms generates toxins which contain oxidized nitrogen and free radicals, which are harmful and lead to diseases.
- Cold pressed oils
Some cold pressed oils include flaxseed oil, olive oil and canola oil. These oils are best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fat is very sensitive to high temperature. It breaks down and becomes rancid at temperatures above 40°C. Never heat cold pressed oil before consumption because it will cause the oil to go rancid and lead to an off-flavour in the food.
If you must reheat your leftover food, there are simple steps which yo,u can follow to reduce the risk of food poisoning. They are;
- Do not allow your leftovers to remain at room temperature longer than 2 hours. Refrigerate them immediately.
- Ensure that the food temperature has cooled down before refrigerating. Never refrigerate a hot food.
- Place leftovers in a clean airtight container before putting them in the refrigerator.
- Reheat leftovers to 75°C, reheating above this temperature is not advised.
- Be sure to label your leftovers to keep track of when they were cooked.
- If leftovers remain more than 2 days in the refrigerator, transfer them to the freezer.
image source: Keckmedicine