Planning on zapping last night's dinner in the microwave for lunch today? You may want to reconsider that if your meal contains any of the top five foods experts say you should never reheat.

From an upset stomach to producing carcinogens, reheating certain foods can bring about various illnesses people may not know about.

The British Food Standards Agency and European Food Information Council have highlighted five foods that you should avoid reheating and store carefully.

1. Chicken

As well as other poultry, it's well known chicken requires careful preparation and cooking to avoid salmonella contamination.

Advertisement

The main issue with reheating chicken in a microwave, as opposed to other methods, is that the heatwaves don't evenly cook all parts of the food.

Because chicken has a higher density of protein than red meat, reheating it causes proteins to be broken down differently and can lead to stomach upsets when consumed.

2. Rice

According to the Food Standards Agency, the storage of rice is crucial. Being left out at room temperature provides the perfect breeding ground for spores which could be the cause of vomiting and diarrhoea.

3. Potatoes

Like rice, potatoes require proper storage after cooking. Otherwise they provide conditions ideal for bacterial growth.

Leaving them at room temperature, particularly when they're covered in tin foil, can result in the growth of Clostridium botulinum (botulism). They need to be cooled and refrigerated.

Reheating them won't kill off the bacteria either.

4. Mushrooms

According to the European Food Information Council mushrooms contain proteins easily destroyed by enzymes and microorganisms.

If not stored properly and then reheated, they can cause an upset stomach.

But the Council advises: "If they are stored in a fridge and for not more [than] 24 hours, it is in general no problem to reheat mushrooms again at recommended temperatures of 70C."

5. Spinach and leafy greens

Spinach and other leafy vegetables can contain high concentrations of nitrate, depending on where they are grown.

While nitrate itself is harmless, according to the European Food Information, it can be converted to nitrosamines, which can be carcinogenic.

Nitrosamines impact the bloodstream's ability to carry oxygen and result in a condition known as "Baby Blue Syndrome" which can affect young children.

The possibility of this has lead the council to advise against reheating spinach.

- nzherald.co.nz