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Do Microwaves Kill Nutrients in Food?

Do Microwaves Kill Nutrients in Food?

  • Admin
  • Oct 11, 2018

The microwave has been commonplace in most kitchens for years now. In fact, many people say they could not do without their microwave, which they cherish for everything from a quick reheat to easy defrosting to getting a whole meal on the table in mere minutes. For years, many also wondered if microwaves were safe. While that debate has since been settled, another question occupies the minds of a more health conscious society: does a microwave destroy the nutrients in healthy food?

The simple answer is: It depends on what you heat up or cook in your microwave. For example, according to a CNN-reported study published in Harvard Health Publications, some nutrients, such as Vitamin C, will break down when exposed to high heat. However, Vitamin C breaks down through all methods of cooking that use high heat, not just a microwave.

Microwaves may actually save nutrients

Longer, slower cooking over heat can serve to break down many nutrients, especially when food is cooked with large amounts of liquid. That being said, a microwave may actually help to preserve much of the nutrients in certain foods because it cooks the food so much quicker, subsequently exposing the nutrients to heat for a much shorter time period.

Additionally, steaming foods in a microwave, using a minimal amount of water, also helps to preserve them. This is because many vitamins and minerals are water-soluble, meaning they will leach out when foods are cooked in large amounts of water.

For example, spinach and other leafy green vegetables cooked in boiling water on stove could lose up to 70 percent of their vital nutrients. Microwaved spinach, on the other hand, retains nearly all the nutrients.

What about protein?

According to CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization of Australia, cooking food in a microwave will not make a significant impact on the proteins, fats and carbohydrates found in food. In contrast, long cooking times with high heat exposure can cause protein to denature, meaning you'll actually get less protein than you thought.

How to keep microwaved food as healthy as possible

When cooking any food in a microwave, just make sure you use microwave-safe containers and materials. Otherwise, there is the risk of carcinogenic toxins leaking into the food.

 

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/21/health/upwave-microwaving-food/index.html

http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/do-microwaves-kill-nutrients-in-food.htm

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