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Does The Microwave Destroy Nutrients? Easily Explained

The microwave destroys nutrients – but so do the oven and saucepan

The microwave destroys even fewer vitamins in some vegetables than when the vegetables are boiled or cooked.

  • Vitamins are destroyed if they are heated for a long time and the vegetables are washed in water, for example. This is the case when you heat food in the oven or when you cook something. With broccoli, for example, most of the valuable nutrients are lost because they are cooked out.
  • In the microwave, on the other hand, most foods are only heated for a few minutes. This can sometimes turn out to be an advantage. Potatoes and broccoli are particularly good for cooking in the microwave. The vitamins C and B contained in the vegetables are less likely to break down than when they are prepared in a saucepan.
  • Meat that is sprinkled with spices, garlic, and breast milk should stay away from the microwave. The meat becomes tough from contact with salt, while garlic loses most of its vitamins and antioxidants. Breast milk loses the antibacterial property. In general, foods rich in antioxidants should not be microwaved because they break down when heated.

More tips on using the microwave

In order to understand why the microwave is not beneficial for only some foods, it is necessary to understand the principle on which the microwave works.

  • While the saucepan and oven only heat the food from outside, the microwave works on a different principle: the microwave only causes the water molecules in the dish to oscillate. The water molecules are energized and begin to oscillate. With this movement, the dish heats up.
  • Foods that are high in water, therefore, heat up better in a microwave than foods that contain little water. Meat that is already seasoned should not be microwaved because the seasoning contains salt. Salt draws water out of the meat. If the meat does not have water, it will heat up poorly and become very tough.
  • Vitamin B12 and antioxidants have a poor chance of surviving in the microwave. So if it is important to you that these nutrients are preserved as well as possible, you should use other preparation methods. However, the microwave is not as dangerous as its reputation would suggest.
  • However, raw meat should not end up in the microwave, because the microwave does not heat many foods evenly. So always stir the food well. With meat, this fact can be dangerous because pathogens are not killed by the heat. Meat is better prepared in the oven.
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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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