Myth-busting the microwave veggie story

Q. A magazine article I read about cooking fresh broccoli powerfully advised against microwaving the vegetable. It said nutritional and health benefits are lost in this fudge method. Is this on-key ? Is steaming broccoli better ? How about other newly vegetables ( Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, asparagus, and so forth ) ? Microwaving is the only option for cooking vegetables at my office, unless we want to eat them raw.

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I do n’t like raw broccoli or cauliflower. A. This warning has been circulating since the November 2003 offspring of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture reported a study by F. Vallejo et al., a group of researchers at Spain ‘s Center for Edaphology and Applied Biology in Murcia. ( Edaphology is the learn of soils and their effects on plants and other organisms. ) To many people, this analyze seemed to indicate that microwaves kill the nutrients in broccoli and presumably in early vegetables as good.

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The researchers cooked broccoli florets in four ways : microwaved, steamed, boiled and pressure-cook. Among other things, they measured the share of healthful flavonoids removed from the vegetable by each cook method. Flavonoids are phenolic resin compounds that are widely distributed in fruits and vegetables. In addition to giving these foods their colors, they behave as antioxidants ; that is, they destroy the unblock radicals that can damage our deoxyribonucleic acid, possibly leading to cancer, stroke and other diseases. Flavonoids are consequently among the “ good guys ” in our foods. Research report The spanish researchers reported that microwaving broccoli removed 97.2 percentage of its flavonoids, boiling removed 66.0 percentage, steaming removed 11.1 percentage and pressure-cook removed 8.8 percentage. about immediately after the issue of this research, a London-datelined news report trumpeted, “ Microwave blasts out broccoli ‘s health benefits. ” An article in Prevention magazine was headlined “ Nuking Broccoli a No-No. ” And dozens of other media stories carried the study ‘s purport find oneself that “ microwaving destroy foods ‘ nutrients. ” obviously, then, we should not microwave our vegetables if we want to retain their nutrients. A scientific study said sol. Right ? improper. The study showed no such thing. In fact, microwaves can be the best way to cook vegetables to ensure minimal loss of nutrients.

Findings, shortcomings A copy of the original inquiry report is barely a document to be skimmed by the uninitiate reader. But I was able to analyze the experiments and determine precisely what the study did and did not prove. here ‘s what I found :

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The researchers measured the before-cooking and after-cooking amounts alone of sum flavonoids and two flavonoid derivatives. however, they did not analyze many other kinds of antioxidants or for vitamins or minerals, so generalizing these results to all nutrients is undue. During microwave, pressure-cook and boil, the broccoli was immersed in water, while for steaming the broccoli was placed on a rack above boiling urine. The researchers reported that flavonoids in the broccoli were diminished to some extent by all four cook methods. This is lone to be expected, because all flavonoids are soluble in water. As bear out by the spanish data, exposure to steam removes relatively little water-soluble material, compared with seethe in water system. The microwave was done at 1,000 watts for five minutes, boiling for five minutes, steaming for 3 1/2 minutes and pressure-cook ( at an unspecified blackmail ) for three minutes. According to the composition, these conditions were selected by “ an informal quiz panel consist of three train people, who decided the best combination among unlike options for each of the four treatments, ” whatever that means. These apparently arbitrary sets of conditions can not be construed as universal characterization of the four cook methods. In actual kitchen practice, the microwave power, pressure-cooker blackmail, cooking times and amounts of water will vary widely, affecting the amounts of flavonoids extracted. One can not plainly say that “ boil does this ” or “ microwave does that. ” Because the spanish discipline has been misunderstood and misreported, it has triggered excessive misgiving of microwaving. But the spanish inquiry results have nothing to do with the effects of microwaves. equally army for the liberation of rwanda as anyone knows, microwave radiation sickness itself does not destroy or affect antioxidants, vitamins, minerals or any early nutrients in our foods. A microwave oven is plainly a high-tech way of heating food, and it is inflame that changes the properties of food in ways we call cooking. The more hotness the more cook changes take space. And all cook inevitably causes a certain total of food passing. The moral, then, is that we should cook our vegetables for as short a time and with a short water system as we can get away with. We ca n’t do without inflame in cook, but we can reduce the total of water.

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well, how about using no urine at all ? After all, the vegetables are already about 90 percentage water system. I have experimented with the water-free microwave cooking of broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, with excellent results. here is the operation : Rinse the vegetables in cold water and dry with a clean kitchen towel. Place the vegetables in a small, cover, microwave-safe container. Do not add urine. zap at full might for three to four minutes or until vegetables are sensitive. And that ‘s it. The vegetables will have cooked in their own steamer, with no loss of water-soluble nutrients except, possibly, as caused by the hotness .