Many people have a tough time eating five servings, but those who microwave their vegetables may need to eat a lot more — like 165 servings — to get the same antioxidants available in raw, steamed or sautéed vegetables.
In a study published by Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, researchers investigated effects of various means of cooking broccoli. Up to 97 percent of certain antioxidant compounds (flavonoids) were destroyed by microwaving, while steaming the broccoli resulted in only 11 percent loss. Other scientific studies also indicate microwaving may destroy more nutrients than conventional cooking methods.
Microwaves also may alter phytonutrients and polyunsaturated fatty acids, the latter of which can oxidize when heated, forming unhealthy oxygen free radicals — potentially DNA-damaging molecules that antioxidants help to neutralize.
Most vegetables provide more antioxidants when consumed raw. When cooking, steaming or light sautéing are the preferred methods for retaining nutrients.
I got rid of our microwave a couple years ago. After a while it’s easy to forget you ever had one.
Speaking of cooking vegetables, here’s a nice recipe that I tried out over the Thanksgiving holiday using all organic ingredients: Creamed Spinach.