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Ask Tufts Experts October 2015 Issue

Q. When I microwave frozen vegetables, am I destroying any of the nutrients they contain?

A. Jeanne P. Goldberg, PhD, professor at the Friedman School and director of the Nutrition Communication Program, answers: “Heat, whether from a conventional source or a microwave oven, destroys some nutrients, but actually makes it easier for the body to use some of them. The factors that affect cooking loss are how long the vegetable is cooked, at what temperature, and how much water is used in the process. In addition, some vitamins are more easily destroyed than others. Since water-soluble vitamins are leached into the water, microwave cooking—which takes less time and smaller amounts of water—actually conserves some vitamins. The bottom line is first, to eat plenty of vegetables, and to follow directions for cooking them that are provided on the package. Manufacturers have tested these carefully to provide the best-tasting product.”

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