Does microwaving food remove nutrition?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

microwave dial
Looks like the food is ready!

There is a popular myth which claims that microwaving food zaps away a ton of nutrition… but is it true? Absolutely not!

In fact, compared to other methods of cooking, microwaving is actually one of the best ways to keep the most nutrition when it’s done correctly. “Whenever you cook food, you’ll have some loss of nutrients,” says registered dietician and certified food scientist Catherine Adams Hutt. “The best cooking method for retaining nutrients is one that cooks quickly, exposes food to heat for the smallest amount of time and uses only a minimal amount of liquid.” What better place to find all that than a microwave?

For example, if you boil spinach straight on the stove, it can lose up to 70% of its folic acid, a B vitamin necessary for many chemical reactions that occur inside the body.

If you put that same spinach in the microwave with a small cup of water for steam, the green leaves keep almost all of the folic acid they started off with! “When you cook food in a microwave, cover it tightly, creating an efficient steam environment,” advises Hutt.

However, there are ways microwaving a plate of food can go wrong. For example, if food is placed inside a container that is not microwave safe, dangerous chemicals can seep into the otherwise tasty meal.

So, next time you throw a plate into that little hot box, rest assured you’re not losing too much nutrition – just make sure it’s a microwave-safe container.

Featured image courtesy of JMV on Flickr. Image of microwave dial courtesy of Pascal on Flickr