Juicers, wheat grass extractors, steamers… these appliances are synonymous with health and well-being. On the other end of the spectrum is the anti-Christ of healthy kitchen appliances — the microwave oven. Banished from the homes of the homeopathic and nixed by naturopaths, the microwave was once just the domain of guilty mothers, lazy fathers and brazen teenagers who stick their nose up at supposed carcinogens in favor of a speedy Pop-Tart.
Nestled in the nasty spectrum between cigarettes and Starbucks, microwaves used to receive lots of flak. But like Aaron Eckhart in the film “Thank You For Smoking”, I’m here to deliver good news about this alleged evil lurking the countertops of 90% of American households. According to Newsweek, the latest studies from Cornell University show that the microwave cooking of vegetables “is one of the two best ways to cook veggies and retain the nutrients inside. (Steaming is the other).” Baking or grilling, on the other hand, destroys more nutrients because food is exposed to higher temperatures.
Gertrude Armbruster (don’t mess with her) and her colleagues at Cornell’s Division of Nutritional Sciences “have shown that on the whole, microwave cooking of vegetables and fruits was least destructive of vitamin C compared to other methods. (Because it is both water-soluble and heat-sensitive, vitamin C is considered a good marker for judging overall nutrient retention).”
The only caveat: when microwaving veggies, go easy on the water as folic acid and vitamin C leach out of foods when they’re immersed in liquid. So, tell your microwave-shunning, we-grill-everything friends to go stick it…in the microwave.