If you are a person who constantly eats leftovers, next time, you should think twice before you do this, as leftovers could be bad for your health.
Leftovers don’t taste as good as when they were freshly made, but they are very convenient since it takes only a few minutes in the microwave and the food is ready. However, with leftovers consumption, the risk of food poisoning increases. Hence, as stated by the Food Standards Agency, the secret to safe eating are the four Cs: cooking, cleaning, chilling, and cross-contamination or avoiding it. Moreover, they point out the importance of thorough cooking, especially meat, so that possible harmful bacteria can be destroyed. When it comes to reheating meals, you need to make sure the food is steaming hot all the way through, and never reheat dishes more than once. You should never reheat these three foods:
The issue with leftover rice is the way of storing. The Food Standards Agency holds that uncooked rice might contain harmful bacteria that survive the initial cooking process. And, if leftover rice is not stored in the right temperature, these bacteria spores can multiply and grow, thus, lead to digestion problems like diarrhea and vomiting. These spores can even survive boiling hot temperatures. Therefore, the best solution is to consume rice right after it is cooked, and if you have leftovers, put them in the fridge or in the freezer immediately. Don’t leave the rice at room temperature for more than one hour.
Reheating leftovers with this oil increases the chances of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. What’s more, recent studies have shown that repeated heating up of polyunsaturated oils with linoleic acid like canola, corn, soybean, and sunflower oils, might release toxins that lead to numerous health problems. More precisely, this toxin is called 4-hydroxy-trans-2-nonenal. A lot of studies have associated its consumption with serious health problems like liver ailments, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. The spokesman of the American Dietetic Association, Jeannie Moloo, stated that constant reheating of vegetable oils leads to release of the abovementioned toxin. She added that as far as cooking at home goes, one should never reheat any oil to the point of smoking, but the oil should be used once.
Even though some people believe that reheating leafy greens can make them toxic, it is actually the storing that increases their toxicity. According to the Center for Food Safety, leftover vegetables shouldn’t be left in an area where the temperature is below 4 degrees Celsius. If you plan to store them for more than 12 hours, you should put them in the freezer. This is because a lot of veggies like spinach, celery, lettuce, and beets contain nitrate. Although nitrate is not dangerous on its own, when vegetables are left at room temperature, bacteria cause the accumulation of nitrite – a metabolite of nitrate. The consumption of nitrate can be harmful to infants and young children as it can lead to a blood disorder called methemoglobinemia whose symptoms are headaches, shortness of breath, seizures, and fatigue.