Nancy Dell: Can microwaving food destroy food’s nutrients?

1.) Does microwaving food destroy many of the nutrients? Can it be harmful?
– Jake, West Springfield

Microwaving cooks food by causing the water already in the food to vibrate. This produces heat and cooks the food.

The food cooks quickly without adding water, foods cooked in the microwave keep more vitamins and minerals than other cooking methods.

When we add water to steam or boil foods some nutrients get lost in the water. The longer we heat a food, as we do with roasting, boiling or steaming, the more nutrients are lost. Four studies show, microwaving broccoli for example can preserve up to 80% of it’s vitamin C.

As far as safety goes, microwaving food is safe but the container you use in the microwave can make it unsafe. Microwaving in plastic can cause the plastic to soften and leach into the food. The plastic contains hormone like compounds that may possibly increase blood pressure, be toxic to the nervous system, and increase the risk of some cancers. So always microwave your food in glass containers.

A second safety concern people express is radiation. The radiation that leaks outside a microwave oven is very low. But if you want to minimize your exposure, avoid standing in front of the microwave oven watching while your food heats up.

So enjoy the speed and convenience of your microwave. It can save you time and save you nutrients. Just stand a few feet away from it and heat your food in glass.