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    12 Things You Should Really Never Microwave

    The microwave is a highly convenient tool, and in many American homes, it is the cooking appliance relied upon the most. Unfortunately, your microwave can also be extremely dangerous for you and your family if not used properly. Read on to learn how you can can continue to use your microwave to cook your meals and still maintain a healthy lifestyle for your family.   HARD BOILED EGGS Don't let Pinterest fool you: If you try to hard boil eggs in your microwave you're likely to either end up with a big mess or burned fingers! The rapid heat from the microwaves creates a lot of steam in the egg, which has nowhere to escape. Exploded egg is hard to clean up—trust us. MEAT Frozen cuts of meat are tricky to defrost in a microwave: Thinner edges start cooking while the thicker middle remains frozen. And if your microwave doesn't rotate food while cooking it, this too can lead to uneven distribution of heat, which can can allow bacteria to grow. The safest way to thaw meat is to defrost it overnight in your refrigerator, according to food safety experts at Pennsylvania State University's department of food science. BREAST MILK Not only does microwaving frozen breast milk warm it unevenly, which can create scalding hot spots for sensitive little mouths, other research has found that this heating method may destroy some of breast milk's immune-boosting proteins, particularly on high power. A better bet: Nuke a mug of water, then place a bottle of breast milk in the mug to come to room temperature. CHINESE TAKEOUT CONTAINERS Metal (even small amounts of metal, like the handles on those white containers) and microwaves don't mix. Or, more accurately, when they mix, they can start fires. Put the rice in a bowl to warm it up. PLASTIC CONTAINERS You know you shouldn't pop plastic leftover containers in there, but you still do. Here's why that's bad: Many plastics contain estrogen-like chemicals (BPA is a well-known one) that can leach into your food when the plastic is heated. In a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, 95 percent of 450 plastic products (such as baby bottles, zipper-top bags and containers) tested released chemicals that acted like estrogen after they were microwaved, washed in a dishwasher, or soaked in water. Even products labeled 'BPA-free' released estrogen-like chemicals. Better to be safe and warm up your dinner directly on a plate. STYROFOAM CONTAINERS As a type of plastic, styrofoam can release harmful chemicals into your food when heated. Dump the leftovers onto a glass dish covered with a paper towel instead. CERTAIN PLATES Do you have a lot of fancy China or metallic-trimmed bowls? Keep them far from the microwave. Even if the metallic trimming is miniscule, it may still react in the microwave, according to the USDA. If you use the microwave a lot, it’s best to invest in a plain colored glass plate for microwave use only. TRAVEL MUGS Stainless steel mugs block the heat from warming your coffee or tea and can damage your microwave instead. If it's plastic, check the bottom of the mug to see if it's marked as microwave safe—but even if it is, you may want to reconsider. NOTHING With no food or liquid to absorb the microwaves, the magnetron (which is what makes the microwave function) ends up absorbing the microwaves instead, which can damage your microwave and even start a fire, according to the USDA. Make sure you don't accidentally press 'start' without food or drink inside. CUPS OF WATER When plain water is heated in a microwave in a ceramic or glass container for too long, it can prevent bubbles from forming, which usually help cool the liquid down. The water becomes superheated; when you move the cup, the heat releases violently and erupts boiling water. To avoid this scalding risk, heat water only the minimum amount of time needed or heat it for longer in small cycles. THAT MUG YOU’VE HAD FOR YEARS AND YEARS Certain mugs made before the 1960s, like old versions of Fiestaware, were glazed with materials that could give off radiation and may contain lead and other harmful heavy metals, according to Smithsonian.com. That mug you found at your neighbor's garage sale may look cute, but consider adding it to your shelf collection instead of drinking from it. By Katie Askew via MSN Health

    Coffee, Coffee, It's Good For Your Heart

    Drinking coffee, tea or chocolate does not appear to cause heart palpitations, heart fluttering and other out-of-sync heartbeat patterns, researchers reported Tuesday. The report challenges a widely held belief that caffeinated drinks cause irregular heart rhythms that can lead to heart failure or dangerous heart rhythm disorders and is another vindication for coffee as a safe drink. It might be time for doctors to lighten up on coffee, says Dr. Gregory Marcus, a cardiologist at the University of California San Francisco, who led the study. "Clinical recommendations advising against the regular consumption of caffeinated products to prevent disturbances of the heart's cardiac rhythm should be reconsidered, as we may unnecessarily be discouraging consumption of items like chocolate, coffee and tea that might actually have cardiovascular benefits," Marcus said in a statement. "WE MAY UNNECESSARILY BE DISCOURAGING CONSUMPTION OF ITEMS LIKE CHOCOLATE, COFFEE AND TEA THAT MIGHT ACTUALLY HAVE CARDIOVASCULAR BENEFITS." "Given our recent work demonstrating that extra heartbeats can be dangerous, this finding is especially relevant." It used to be believed that premature cardiac contractions, which usually cause no symptoms or mild symptoms such as heart palpitations, 'skipped' beats or fluttering, were harmless. But studies now show they're associated with heart failure, atrial fibrillation and other dangerous conditions. And doctors are widely taught that caffeine can cause these heart disturbances. To check, Marcus and colleagues examined 1,388 people, with an average age of 72, taking part in a larger heart study. About 60 percent said they drank some sort of caffeinated product every day. The team looked specifically at coffee, tea and chocolate and did not ask about super-caffeinated energy drinks. They measured instances of premature ventricular contractions and premature atrial contractions. They could not find any differences in instances of these heart disturbances, no matter how much coffee or tea or chocolate people had. "Therefore, we are only able to conclude that in general, consuming caffeinated products every day is not associated with having increased ectopy or arrhythmia but cannot specify a particular amount per day," Marcus and colleagues wrote in the Journal of the American Heart Association. "HABITUAL COFFEE DRINKERS HAVE LOWER RATES OF CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE." They said it is possible that people who noticed heart flutters or other symptoms from coffee or tea may have cut back - they did not ask them. But they also noted that it's yet another finding in favor of moderate coffee drinking. "Coffee is among the most commonly consumed beverages in the United States and is the main source of caffeine intake among adults," they wrote. "Regular coffee consumption has been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and other cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity and depression," they added. "Furthermore, large observational studies have found that habitual coffee drinkers have lower rates of coronary artery disease and of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality." The cutoff seems to be around five cups a day, and kids shouldn't be drinking too much caffeine. Higher doses of caffeine can be deadly. The Food and Drug Administration has warned about sales of powdered caffeine, One teaspoon delivers as much caffeine as 28 cups of regular coffee. By Maggie Fox via NBC News