Leftovers are an essential part of a modern person's lifestyle. Whether you make meals in bulk on Sundays or ration your nightly meals to last you throughout the weekend, our microwaves often replace our stovetops or ovens during a busy week. After a long day at the office, nothing is more satiating than a quick, healthy, and premade meal that requires little in the way of prep time. That being said, some common kitchen staples pose a health risk when reheated, as recently pointed out by Women's Health.
If stored improperly and then put in the microwave days later, these three healthy foods could reportedly give you food poisoning.
As a part of the fungi kingdom, mushrooms are more closely related to animals than plants and are a good source of B vitamins and protein (when dried). Understandably so, they don't have much of a shelf life after preparation—Women's Health recommends eating and finishing them all right after cooking. "Proteins can deteriorate as soon as you cut them up, and that's bad news for your belly," the magazine writes. Positive Med reiterates the warning, claiming you should eat precooked mushrooms cold or remove them from the dish you're reheating altogether.
Despite their reputation as a hearty, long-lasting kitchen staple, Women's Health reports that potatoes must be stored properly in order to avoid the risk of food poisoning. "Potatoes are tricky—if they're left to cool down at room temperature instead of immediately refrigerating, the warm temperatures can promote the growth of botulism, a rare bacteria," they write. According to Food Safety, this primarily happens when baked potatoes are wrapped in foil and left to cool naturally. Refrigerate cooked potatoes immediately to prevent the growth of this harmful bacteria.
Celery, Spinach, and Beets
Surprisingly, precut vegetables are some of the most bacteria-ridden foods, according to a food poisoning expert. That being said, they also pose a threat when reheated in the microwave oven. "Heat can cause the nitrates of these veggies to turn toxic—and release carcinogenic properties—when they're heated up a second time," writes Women's Health. "So it's best to take these foods out of whatever dish you're reheating." Others, like Eat Live Love Food, have contested this accusation, suggesting that proper cooling of these vegetables can prevent nitrate production entirely.
Have you ever had a bad experience with one of these foods? Share your experience with us.
This post was originally published on October 10, 2016, and has since been updated.