microwaves and nutrients
Studies suggest that cooking oatmeal in a microwave may be better than boiling them over a stove.

Cooking has distinct effects on the nutrient content of the food.

  • Some nutrients are heat-labile and thus, are destroyed by cooking, while others may be released or changed into a more readily absorbable form by cooking.
  • Heat-labile nutrients, such as vitamin C, are destroyed to some extent regardless of the kind of cooking you use: oven, stove, or microwave.

Studies suggest that cooking oatmeal in a microwave may be better than boiling them over a stove. The microwave cooks food faster. Hence, the nutrient loss may be lower due to shortened cooking time than boiling or cooking over a stove.

Cooking in a microwave may make nutrients, such as carotenoids, more available to the body. It helps make biotin, a type of B vitamin, more digestible.

Clean your microwave regularly, ensure that you use minimal water, and maintain appropriate temperature settings to preserve the maximum nutrients. When done properly, microwave cooking may be one of the least damaging to nutrients.

Is microwave cooking better than boiling or cooking in an oven?

Studies suggest that microwave cooking is better than cooking foods in an oven. Microwaves cook foods faster than ovens and may preserve more nutrients in your food. Compared to boiling, however, both microwaves and ovens are better.

To summarize, microwaves are great for cooking that save your time as well.

Several nutrients are leached into the water used for boiling. Thus, the boiled food you eat may be nutritionally inferior to food cooked in a microwave.

  • Certain cancer-fighting substances, such as polyphenols, could be lost by boiling.
  • For example, glucosinolate is a sulfur-containing compound with cancer-fighting properties. It is present in broccoli but boiling the vegetable may lead to a significant decrease in its concentration.
  • Compared to boiling or frying, steaming broccoli (in the microwave or stove) may preserve more glucosinolate. Steaming is a great way to limit the calorie content of the food while preserving its nutritional content.

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Does microwave cooking harm your health?

There is no evidence that microwave cooking harms your health. There have been concerns that microwave cooking may result in the formation of toxic or harmful compounds that may harm your health. This notion has no supporting scientific evidence, and presently, it is completely safe to eat microwave-cooked food.

Does food cooked in a microwave taste better?

Some people find stove-cooked food tastes better, whereas some feel microwave-cooked food is more flavorful.

Microwaves use energy waves similar to radio waves (but with shorter wavelengths) to cook food. These energy waves are quite selective and target molecules of a particular type, such as water. They cause the vibration of such molecules that results in heat generation, which cooks food fast.

Whether the food tastes better depends on the type of food; thus, some recipes may be cooked better using a microwave and others may not. There could be some bias or individual preference as well. The cooking time and temperature settings of the microwave may also have an effect on the taste.

How do you microwave oatmeal without boiling it over?

To avoid boiling over while cooking oatmeal, ensure that you do not add excessive water. Stir your oats at regular intervals while cooking in a microwave. Stirring ensures even cooking and breaks the bubbles generated during cooking.

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Medically Reviewed on 4/7/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Harvard Health Publishing. Ask the doctor: Microwave's impact on food. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/ask-the-doctor-microwaves-impact-on-food

Produce for Better Health Foundation. About The Buzz: Microwaving Fruits & Vegetables Kills All Their Essential Nutrients? https://fruitsandveggies.org/stories/about-the-buzz-microwaving-fruits-vegetables-kills-all-their-essential-nutrientss/

ScienceDirect. Microwave Cooking. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/microwave-cooking