Does Microwaving Destroy Nutrients?
Microwaves get a fair amount of criticism when it comes to safe, healthy and nutritious food preparation. There is an endless barrage of media headlines. It has been said that they zap nutrients, leak chemicals and emit deadly rays. Is any of it really true?
Cooking destroys some vitamins and minerals. More nutrients will be retained if cooking for less time in the minimal amount of water. The Microwave allows you to do this, so it can be one of the healthiest ways to cook certain foods such as vegetables. Placing vegetables in a very small amount of water in the microwave to cook, for a minimum amount of time will steam the vegetables and retain the maximum amount of nutrients. If meat is exposed to high heat and charring, it can lead to the formation of nitrosamines that has been linked to cancer. Cooking meat in a microwave on the correct setting can ensure even cooking and retain maximum nutrients without producing charring.
Microwaves are also good to safely reheat foods whilst retaining nutrients. The food is exposed to high heat for less time than it would be on the stove or in the oven. It is also heated evenly, minimising the risk of food poisoning.
Microwaving can be done incorrectly, as with any style of cooking. Using too much water and microwaving for excessive periods of time will leach nutrients. Using dishes that are not microwave safe may also lead to leaching of harmful chemicals into the food. Always ensure your microwave is working efficiently, with a proper working turntable. This will ensure that food is cooked thoroughly and evenly all the way through. Always use the correct settings for the particular function you need and food you are cooking. Most microwaves will have reheat, defrost and cook settings. Some even have settings for particular foods and allow you to input the weight of the food. Look to invest in a microwave safe cover that can be used in place of plastic cling wrap in the microwave.
This is not to say that microwave cooking should be the main cooking method used, but what it does say is that it is nothing to be afraid of. It may not create the same aromas, same tastes or same pleasures as roasting, baking, frying or slow cooking but you can be sure that if done correctly, you will be getting the same, if not more nutrients than other cooking methods.
Added to site on : Monday, 5 May 2014