Does Microwaving Destroy Nutrients?

In 2003, newspapers reported a study showing that microwaving broccoli destroyed its antioxidants, causing many people to believe that microwaves were ruining the nutritional value of their foods. But the researchers in this study cooked the broccoli submerged in 2/3 cup of boiling water for five minutes at full power (Journal of Science in Food and Agriculture, November 2003). Antioxidants were destroyed by the long cooking in water at a high temperature, not by microwaves. The study authors noted that it is the length of time vegetables are exposed to hot water that determines the amount of water-soluble nutrients lost, whether the cooking is done in a microwave oven, in a pot on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker.

If you follow the standard instructions for microwaving vegetables, using just a tablespoon or two of water and setting the timer for a short time, the effect is similar to steaming and antioxidant loss will be minimal.

Checked 9/22/15

Get our newsletter