Does microwaving food really cause nutrient loss?

The answer may surprise you.

CNN – Microwave ovens provide an easy way to quickly heat food when hunger strikes.

But does the convenience of microwave cooking come at a cost by zapping nutrients out of foods?

Any kind of cooking method will result in some nutrient losses, so a better way to look at the issue is to what degree nutrients are depleted, explained Scott A. Rankin, professor and chair of the Department of Food Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

And “typical microwave heating results in very minimal loss of valuable nutrients in food,” Rankin said.

Microwave cooking emits wavelengths that are absorbed by water molecules in food, and the molecules generate heat as they resonate with those wavelengths in food, Rankin explained.

But heating food in a microwave often requires very little or no liquid at all. Compare microwaving to cooking broccoli in a pot of boiling water:

The water turns green when water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C leach from the broccoli into the water.

Additionally, in a conventional oven, hot air penetrates food from the outside in; thus the exterior of foods can be exposed to excessive heat by the time the food reaches its target temperature, and this increases the potential for nutrient loss.

With microwave cooking, the temperature raises more uniformly throughout the food; thus the point at which all particles of the food have reached the desired temperature is achieved with little damage, Rankin said.

The healthiest ways to cook veggies and boost nutrition

What’s more, heating food in a microwave often takes just a few minutes. Microwave cooking can have a shorter “come-up time,” the time it takes a food to reach its proper cooked temperature and a factor that affects nutrient survival … Read more at CNN. 

RELATED: 8 Foods You Should NEVER Microwave

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