Although, deep down, we all know the microwave isn’t the best way to heat our food, most of us seem to ignore the bare facts. It is true that it is one of the most convenient, time-saving kitchen tools around the house, but let me show you a few science-proven facts that quickly will change your mind and kick the microwave out of your home.
Where did all the antioxidants go?
A study published in The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture shows that broccoli, when heated in the microwave, loses 97 percent of its healing and cancer-fighting antioxidants. Compared to the 11 percent antioxidant loss when steamed, this is a huge difference. (1)
Anti-cancer properties of garlic
Another study, published in The Journal of Nutrition, shows that the active, cancer-fighting compound of garlic, the enzyme aliinase, already loses it function after 60 seconds in the microwave. (2)
Heating breast milk
Multiple studies have shown that heating breast milk in the microwave to feed your newborn destroys most of its nourishing and immune-boosting compounds. It decreases lysozyme and antibody activity, and boosts the growth of pathogenic bacteria, too. Not the best way to start life if you ask me. (3)
Another study found that milk, when heated for 6 minutes in the microwave, had 40 percent less B12, which is vitally important for the developing nerves and brain of your child. (4)
Loss of vitamins
Vitamin B12 in breast milk is not the only vitamin that is lost through cooking/heating food in the microwave. A Scandinavian study of the cooking of asparagus spears found that microwaving caused a reduction in many of its essential vitamins compared to other cooking methods. (5)
Alters protein/enzyme structure
An Australian study showed that microwaves cause a higher degree of “protein unfolding” than conventional heating. When unfolded or changed, these proteins or enzymes can lose their function. (6)
And one last thing, most microwaved food is heated in plastic containers. When heated, even if they are microwave-safe and BPA-free, these plastics can release all sorts of substances into you your food. Many are known to disrupt our hormone function or cause other health issues. (8)
We haven’t used a microwave for years now, and believe me it only takes a few days to get used to it. I’m sure if you just try you won’t miss it at all. Your stove top will do just fine in reheating leftovers.
- Kidmose U and Kaack K. Acta. Agriculturae Scandinavica B1999:49(2).110-117.