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Do vitamins and minerals ‘break’ in the microwave?

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You sometimes hear that cooking in the microwave is unhealthy. For example, the microwave radiation would break down vitamins and minerals. But it is rather the other way around!

This is because food is heated super-fast in the microwave. Some nutrients, such as vitamin C, break down slowly when exposed to heat. Because food in the microwave heats up (and therefore cooked) much faster than in, for example, a normal pan, less of these vitamins are lost in the microwave.

Microwave cooking

Need less water

Another advantage of the microwave is that you need little or no water to prepare food (because it is so fast, less water can evaporate). This means that no or less nutrients can ‘leak out’, as happens when you cook broccoli in a pan, for example. By the way, you can prevent this by using a steamer. But steaming in a microwave is faster, which means that slightly fewer vitamins are lost through heat. For this you can use microwave steam dishes or a closable steam bag that you can fill yourself.

Heated from the inside

A microwave oven heats food with microwaves, which are not radioactive and harmless. The microwaves only move the moisture particles in the food, and the friction releases heat. Because the food is heated from the inside, it heats up much faster than in a pan or oven.

Be careful with plastic in the microwave

The only downside to microwave cooking is that it doesn’t always heat food evenly. A potentially dangerous bacterium, such as salmonella, can survive in poorly heated areas. So, to be on the safe side, make sure that you stir your food once while heating it. Also only use food bowls that are microwave safe; when a plastic container melts, unhealthy chemicals can get into the food. And oh yes, don’t boil an egg in it: the pressure from the inside will cause the egg to explode after a short time.

Minerals less fragile than vitamins

In short; you may find a meal from the microwave tastes less tasty than food from the pan, but you don’t have to leave it for the vitamins. This also applies to the minerals, although they are also well preserved in grandmother’s preparation. Minerals are more stable than vitamins.

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