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Dr K K Aggarwal

Is microwave safe for cooking and nutrition?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Some people believe that microwave cooking removes nutrients and makes food less healthy.

Microwave ovens cook food using waves of energy that are similar to radio waves but shorter. These waves are remarkably selective, primarily affecting water and other molecules that are electrically asymmetrical — one end positively charged and the other negatively charged. Microwaves cause these molecules to vibrate and quickly build up thermal (heat) energy.

Some nutrients break down when they are exposed to heat, whether it is from a microwave or a regular oven. Vitamin C is perhaps the clearest example. But because microwave cooking times are shorter, cooking with a microwave does a better job of preserving vitamin C and other nutrients that break down when heated.

Cooking vegetables in water robs them of some of their nutritional value because the nutrients leach out into the cooking water. For example, boiled broccoli loses glucosinolate, the sulfur-containing compound that may give the vegetable its cancer-fighting properties (as well as the taste that many find distinctive and some find disgusting). Is steaming vegetables better? In some respects, yes. For example, steamed broccoli holds on to more glucosinolate than boiled or fried broccoli.

The cooking method that best retains nutrients is one that cooks quickly, heats food for the shortest amount of time, and uses as little liquid as possible. Microwaving meets those criteria. Using the microwave with a small amount of water essentially steams food from the inside out. That keeps more vitamins and minerals than almost any other cooking method. (Harvard News Letter)

HCFI tips for using a microwave oven

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Wellness | Tagged With: , , , , | | Comments Off on HCFI tips for using a microwave oven

  1. If youre concerned about plastic wraps or containers in the microwave, transfer food to glass or ceramic containers labeled for use in microwave ovens.
  2. Dont let plastic wrap touch food during microwaving because it may melt. Wax paper, kitchen parchment paper, white paper towels, or a domed container that fits over a plate or bowl are better alternatives.
  3. Most takeout containers, water bottles, and plastic tubs or jars made to hold margarine, yogurt, whipped topping, and foods such as cream cheese, mayonnaise, and mustard are not microwave-safe.
  4. Microwavable takeout dinner trays are formulated for one-time use only and will say so on the package.
  5. Old, scratched, or cracked containers, or those that have been microwaved many times, may leach out more plasticizers.
  6. Dont microwave plastic storage bags or plastic bags from the grocery store.
  7. Before microwaving food, be sure to vent the container: leave the lid ajar, or lift the edge of the cover.