How to protect seniors -- older parents, relatives and loved ones -- who live alone. Tips on what to do in case of an emergency. Safety ideas.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Microwaving Veggies Not so Negative for Nutrients

Based on the article “Does Microwaving Veggies Kill Nutrients?” on

Edited (with Introduction) by Dr. Don Rose


Many people believe that microwaving tends to be bad for certain foods, such as vegetables, because it may kill vital nutrients in the food. However, this article cites sources that seem to reverse some of these negative beliefs – and point to a different cooking culprit. --D.R.


Anahad O'Connor, writing in his "The Claim" column, takes on the widely-held conviction that cooking vegetables in the microwave destroys valuable nutrients. The truth, O'Connor tells us, is that microwaving destroys far fewer nutrients than other means of cooking, largely because microwaving uses less of two things that destroy nutrients during cooking: heat and water.

O'Connor directs our attention to studies at Cornell University, which looked at the effects of cooking on water-soluble vitamins in vegetables. That research found that spinach retained nearly all its folate when cooked in a microwave, but lost about 77 percent when cooked on a stove. It also found that bacon cooked by microwave has significantly lower levels of cancer-causing nitrosamines than conventionally cooked bacon.

O'Connor also points to a study published in The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture in 2003 that found that broccoli cooked by microwave — and immersed in water — loses about 74 percent to 97 percent of its antioxidants. However, when steamed or cooked without water, the broccoli retained most of its nutrients.

The moral of the story: cooking in water seems to be more of a negative than cooking in a microwave, at least as far as preserving nutrients in vegetables is concerned.


This article and the content it is based on are covered by a Creative Commons License.

Dr. Don Rose writes books, papers and articles on many topics, including computers, the Internet, AI, science and technology, and issues related to seniors.


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