The invention of the refrigerator has reduced food wastage significantly and increased the tendency to reheat cooked food stored in the refrigerator to save time.
This is especially noticeable among those who live alone due to work or study, as it is not at all convenient for a person to cook anew each of the meals every time.
But little do we know that reheating some high protein foods can be extremely detrimental to health.
Apart from the high-protein foods, there are many foods that can cause a serious health risk if reheated and eaten after cooking.
Whether it is because of the odd non-veg smell or anything else, Bengali people usually don’t like to have cold eggs. And it is very common in winter to reheat boiled egg before eating if someone has missed to have it on time, which can damage his health.
Since the egg is a high-protein food, it contains a lot of nitrogen. If cooked or boiled eggs are repeatedly heated, nitrogen may get oxidised, which may lead to cancer.
Potatoes are rich in vitamin B6, potassium and vitamin C, which can produce a bacterium called Clostridium Botulinum after getting reheated. It may lead to botulism.
Even when cooked potatoes are left at room temperature, the production of these bacteria continues.
So, after cooking anything with potatoes, the item should be kept in the refrigerator as much as possible. And if it is not possible to eat without reheating, discard them in 1-2 days.
As rice is the staple food of Bengalis, naturally it is on the list of the most common leftovers in any Bengali kitchen. And at the same time, it is common to have reheated stale rice.
According to the Foods Standards Agency (FSA), eating reheated rice can lead to food poisoning due to the highly resistant bacteria called Bacillus Cereus.
Although these bacteria die in the heat, they are able to produce spores that are toxic in nature. These spores grow rapidly if the reheated rice is left at room temperature and there is a possibility of food poisoning if you eat the rice later.
Reheating chicken curry that was stored in the refrigerator is perhaps the most common practice. Repeatedly reheating cooked chicken changes its protein composition which can lead to digestive problems.
Vegetables that are high in Nitrates
Vegetables that are rich in Nitrates such as carrot, turnip, celery, spinach, cress or any green leafy vegetables can turn toxic by getting reheated - releasing cancerous carcinogenic properties.
Besides, reheating spinach may oxidise its iron which can generate dangerous free radicals and cause many diseases including infertility and cancer.
Having reheated tea is common in Bangladeshi households. Tea contains tannic acid which can cause liver damage if it is reheated. Hence the common practice needs to change.