Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Microwaves, I get it but still will not use a microwave


Microwave ovens provide a rapid and convenient way of cooking food, but there are many misconceptions regarding their function. In reality, microwaves don't depend upon nuclear radiation, and they don't destroy the nutrient molecules in food to any significant degree. They work by causing molecules in your food to spin rapidly, generating heat through friction. This heat spreads through your food, either warming or cooking it. In many ways, microwaving is analogous to stove-top cooking, though the mechanism is slightly different.

Minerals in Food

The vitamins and minerals are all considered essential, meaning that you must eat them in your food in order to maintain health. As such, it's quite reasonable to wonder whether your chosen method of food preparation is negatively impacting the vitamin or mineral content of your food. Minerals don't contain chemical bonds, meaning that there's no way to destroy them through heating a food item. Regardless of whether you choose to microwave or use a stove, you won't affect the mineral content of your food.

Vitamins in Food

Vitamins, unlike minerals, are complex molecules that contain many chemical bonds that can be broken through exposure to heat. This destroys the vitamins. Because vitamins are heat-sensitive, you risk losing nutritional content of any cooked food relative to the raw ingredients. However, microwave ovens actually result in less destruction than regular ovens or stoves. A 2004 study in the journal "Food Chemistry" by Dr. D. Zhang and colleagues shows that broccoli cooked conventionally and by microwave lost about 66 percent of its vitamin C over 300 seconds of cooking time. However, because 300 seconds represents a greater degree of cooking completion in a microwave, as compared to a conventional oven, significantly more time would be required to complete cooking in the conventional oven, resulting in more vitamin loss.

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