Is Microwave Cooking Destroying Nutrients?

Q: Does microwave cooking cause any loss of nutrients or other unhealthful changes?

A: Believe it or not, microwave cooking may actually retain nutrients better than traditional methods.  That’s because the longer your cook food, particularly in water that’s discarded before eating, the more nutrients are lost.  For example, one study found that spinach retained 100 percent of its folate — a water soluble B-vitamin — when cooked in a microwave, vs. 77 percent when stove-top boiled.  Moreover, briefer cooking of meats produces lower levels of potentially cancer-causing chemicals.

At the same time, microwaving tends to heat foods unevenly, so that outer portions may not get hot enough.  To help ensure germ-killing temperatures throughout, cover the food, and leave a hole for steam to escape.  (Waxed paper is preferable to plastic wrap, which might transfer possibly harmful amounts of plastic to the food).  For the same reason, use only containers labeled, “microwave safe.”  Stir and turn the food during cooking and let it stand for a while afterwards, as directed.  And check its temperature in several places with a food thermometer.

Join our free Newsletter and receive the Real Food Therapy Guide free!


About Dave Barnas, M.S., CES, NASM-CPT

Dave is the true health guy. He is the founder and owner of True Health Unlimited, LLC, a personal health and fitness company in Tolland, CT & Wellness Writers, a subscription wellness newsletter service that incorporates live & virtual wellness workshops for companies across New England. Dave earned both a Bachelor's (1998) and Master's Degree (2000) in Nutritional Science from the University of Connecticut, and also holds certifications as a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Group Instructor, and Nutrition Specialist. He's also the lead author for four published works. Dave has over 20 years of combined experience in nutrition counseling, dietary supplement advising, personal training, corrective exercise training, health coaching and public speaking. In addition, he's spent over 25 years studying spirituality, meditation, and personal growth strategies. Dave's clients are all ages: youth, college championship level athletes, folks in their retired years, and everywhere in between. He's worked with three of the nation's leading physicians as a dietary supplement advisor and been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Yale University, UConn, St. Joseph College and various church groups, health clubs, and high schools. In 2013, he was invited to Whole Foods Market to share his Real Food Therapy Guide. And in 2015, Dave's funny "Snowga" (yoga in the snow) video caught the attention of The National Weather Channel, who aired it to shake off cabin fever and bring laughter. In 2016, Dave & Hollie (his wife) founded Wellness Writers and deliver evidence-based Wellness E-newsletters to spread a message of health and happiness to various businesses throughout the US. Dave currently serves as a personal trainer in Tolland as well as a wellness coach and writer for several businesses, gyms and wellness facilities throughout the US.

Leave a Reply