Microwave cooking: Does it destroy nutrients in vegetables?

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Microwave cooking: Does it destroy nutrients in vegetables?

Question

My mother told me that I shouldn't cook vegetables in the microwave because it destroys all the nutrients. Is this true?

No name given
Kansas

Answer

All cooking methods reduce nutrient levels in vegetables to some degree. Many vitamins are sensitive to heat exposure. Also, water used for cooking can dissolve and wash away even more of those vitamins. Microwave cooking is a good way to preserve nutrients in vegetables because it requires only a minimal amount of water and cooking times are very short.

Key tips for preserving nutrients in the microwave include:

  • Use as little liquid as possible.
  • Reduce the surface area of food by leaving vegetables in big pieces.
  • Cover your cooking container to hold in steam and heat and reduce cooking time.
  • Cook vegetables until just crisp and tender. Don't overcook.
  • Avoid peeling vegetables when possible. Many of the nutrients are found in and just below the surface of the skin.

Last Updated: 03/29/2005
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