Microwaving vegetables is a quick and easy way to cook vegetables, as you are not required to be in the kitchen during the cooking process, keeping an eye on the vegetables. But does microwaving vegetables make them lose nutrients?
Some popular theories suggest that microwaving vegetables is harmful, as it breaks down the natural antioxidants present in food. According to the American Dietetic Association, antioxidants are substances that protect against cell damaging free radicals within the body, and which can be found in fresh fruits and vegetables. But is it really true that microwaving vegetables is a bad way to cook vegetables?
Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain, Results
Researchers are the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain, tested a variety of vegetables by using different cooking methods such as boiling, frying, and microwaving. The researchers measured the level of antioxidants before and after cooking the vegetables to see which cooking method resulted in the greatest nutrient loss. The results showed that baking and microwaving resulted in the least loss of nutrients, while cooking methods such as boiling and pressure cooking resulted in the greatest loss of antioxidants. The loss of antioxidants lost in the microwave ranged from none at all to 50 percent. This was found when measuring the level of antioxidant loss when microwaving cauliflower.
Some Increase in Antioxidants
The Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain research team also found that in a few cases, microwaving vegetables actually increased the level of antioxidants. For example, during the study, carrots, celery, and green beans were found to have higher levels of an antioxidant which is known to fight a free radical that is known as ABTS.
Amount of Water Used
The team of researchers at Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain, found that one of the real culprits was not so much the cooking method used to heat the vegetables, but the amount of water used during the cooking process. Boiling and pressure cooking resulted in the greatest loss of nutrients, as the nutrients were found in the water, whereas microwaving helped preserve greater amounts of antioxidants, as far less water was used to cook the vegetables.
Microwaving vegetables is still looked down upon by many, as it is not considered the best and healthiest way to cook vegetables. However, researchers at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain found that microwaving and steaming vegetables were two of the healthiest ways to prepare vegetables. The key is to always use minimal amounts of water, so that the nutrients do not leach out of the vegetables into the water.
Lifeslittlemysteries.com, Does Microwaving Vegetables Destroy Their Nutrients? by Stephanie Pappas, Life’s Little Mysteries Contributor.
Universisad Complutense Madrid, http://www.ucm.es/