I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of friends, family and random strangers speaking of how microwave cooking can be unhealthy, how it reduces nutrition in our food and so on. I have too, and thought a little research may help all of us make more informed decisions.
Does cooking food in microwaves reduce it’s nutritional value or content? Apparently not.
I looked up multiple papers and the conclusion was hard to miss. Here’s a tabulated summary. The papers I referenced conducted research in the context of different foods, as illustrated below.
|Legumes||No nutritional changes based on cooking method. |
|Water soluble vitamins||Microwave heating caused less nutrient loss than other methods. |
|Rice||Not much difference, though pressure cooking is slightly better. |
|Vegetables||Nutrition loss happens across cooking methods, varying according to the cooking method, nutrient and vegetable. On the whole, microwave cooking didn’t significantly degrade nutritional value. |
|Peas||No significant changes to fat, protein, beta-carotene or ascorbic acid. Greater retention of Thiamin and Riboflavin. |
|Green Leafy Vegetables||No significant difference in nutrient content based on cooking method. |
|Courgettes / Zucchini||Better preservation of nutrients using microwave cooking, lower energy expenditure and lesser time taken. |
|Vegetables||Highest nutrient retention in vegetables cooked by microwave steaming. |
|Liquid Foods||No major differences found. |
|Oats||“… properly applied microwave heating can provide substantial support for nutritionally valuable meal preparation.” |
Conclusion: The use of microwave ovens for cooking food appears to be beneficial for the retention of nutritional content, as compared to conventional methods of cooking.
- Nutritional quality of microwave-cooked and pressure-cooked legumes
- Effect of microwave processing on water soluble vitamins: Kinetic parameters
- Nutritional Quality of Microwave and Pressure Cooked Rice (Oryza sativa) Varieties
- Nutritional composition and sensory profile of microwave and conventionally cooked vegetables
- Effect of Microwave and Conventional Cooking on the Nutritive Value of Colossus Peas
- Nutrient Composition and Sensory Profile of Differently Cooked Green Leafy Vegetables
- Optimization of microwave cooking of courgette in terms of nutrient preservation and energy consumption
- Sensory attributes and nutrient retention in selected vegetables prepared by conventional and microwave methods
- No Major Differences Found between the Effects of Microwave-Based and Conventional Heat Treatment Methods on Two Different Liquid Foods
- Comparison of Conventional and Microwave Assisted Heating on Carbohydrate Content, Antioxidant Capacity and Postprandial Glycemic Response in Oat Meals