A little while ago I started a weekly tradition of uploading nutrition-related info on Thursdays onto instagram and calling it ‘Nutrition Thursday’. So I thought why not do the same here? It will allow me a bit more of a schedule to follow. I’ll be back with another recipe this weekend!
More recently I have been hearing some confusion when it comes to microwaves and nutrient loss. The myth that microwaving your food can cause more nutrient loss is just that…a myth. Research has shown that microwaving your food can actually help retain nutrients because it heats the food quicker. This results in less cooking time which can help preserve your heat sensitive nutrients (like Vitamin C, B vitamins, and folic acid). In fact, in one study that compared nutrient loss in spinach, it was found that spinach, when cooked in a microwave, retained nearly all of its folate. However, when cooked over the stove, it lost 77% of its folate.
Microwaving your food can actually help make nutrients, like the carotenoids in tomatoes and carrots, more bioavailable and it also makes the biotin in eggs more digestible. In addition, the heat from microwaves kills the bacteria in food that can make us sick.
Of course there is some nutrient loss no matter how you cook your foods. Especially if water is involved. One study found that cooking broccoli in the microwave resulted in more nutrient loss as opposed to cooking it over the stove. However, for the most part, boiling results in a significant amount of nutrient loss because cooking times are longer, a large amount of water is used, and the water soluble nutrients are lost in the water. So unless you incorporate that water back into your meal somehow, you’re losing out on a lot of nutrients.
Apparently microwaving your meat prior to cooking can even have some benefits. A recent article stated, “microwaving meat before pan-frying or grilling can substantially reduce the formation of potentially cancer-causing chemicals, caused heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which cause cancer in animals, and may be linked to colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancer in humans,” (http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/03/08/7-nutrition-myths-debunked/).
Bottom line: Microwaves are generally one of the best options for retaining nutrients because they cook food quickly, expose the food to heat for the smallest amount of time, and use minimal liquid.
Question of the day:
Is there a nutrition related topic you would like to know more about?