Microwave ovens are a staple of kitchens everywhere. Notwithstanding how long they have been with us, people are wary of cooking their food in the microwave and suspect that the radiation they emit can destroy nutrients in food and vegetables.
Every cooking method destroys vitamins and other nutrients in food. Loss of vitamins is determined by temperature, time and the loss of minerals to the cooking medium (and those guys with guns).
Convection ovens use hot air to heat the food. This requires very high temperatures and times as air is a very inefficient heat transfer medium. This is the most inefficient method and destroys to most nutrients.
Boiling is a much more effective heat transfer medium but you will loose most of the water soluable vitamins with this method.
Microwaves use less heat than conventional methods and involve shorter cooking times. They are generally the least destructive.
Here is the Science
The most heat-sensitive nutrients are water-soluble vitamins, like folic acid and vitamins B and C, which are common in vegetables. In studies at Cornell University, scientists looked at the effects of cooking on water-soluble vitamins in vegetables and found that spinach retained nearly all it’s folate when cooked in a microwave, but lost about 77 percent when boiled.
When it comes to vegetables, adding water can greatly accelerate the loss of nutrients. One study published in The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture in 2003 found that broccoli cooked by microwave and immersed in water loses about 74 percent to 97 percent of its antioxidants. When steamed or cooked without water, the broccoli retained most of its nutrients.
Conclusion – Microwave vegetables are best vegetables.
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