Elon, North Carolina|Friday, January 27, 2017
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Microwaves enhance food’s nutrition 

Students often microwave meals in their dorms and apartments. It turns out that this method of cooking may be nutritious.

If done right, microwave cooking can retain more nutrients in food than other methods of cooking such as using a stove or oven.

Adding a little bit of water and covering the food tightly allows the microwave to steam food and keep its minerals.  When cooking certain foods, a microwave can raise the value of foods’ vitamins and minerals.

“In endcase, if you’re working with fruits and vegetables, the shorter amount of time you cook them, the better, the more fresh they are, the greater nutrient value,” said Elizabeth Bailey, lecturer in health and human performance.

Tomatoes and carrots fall under this category, as their vitamins and minerals are amplified and made more accessible through microwaving.  Spinach retains most of its folic acid when microwaved versus losing almost 70 percent of this water-soluble vitamin when boiled on a stove. Other foods, such as bacon, are also enhanced when cooked in the microwave.  Many more cancer-promoting chemicals called nitrosamines can result when bacon is cooked on a griddle than in the microwave.

Hearing all of the benefits microwaving brings to the table nutritionally, is your food microwaved?  Not if it is served under Elon’s campus dining.

Elon executive chef Pinky Varghese said the microwave should only be used to cook small portioned meals. Elon dining serves thousands of students each day.

Varghese said that students are receiving proper nutrients.

“We cook food in batches, which allows us to have a better control over retaining the nutrients,” he said. “This allows us to serve fresh food every time.”

According to Varghese, Elon Dining staff follows a rule to prepping foods in order to decrease the amount of lost of vitamins and nutrients.

Next time you go to boil vegetables in a pot on the stove, rethink throwing it into the microwave for an added nutritional value. Just be sure not to overcook the food, and wrap it tightly so those nutrients don’t escape.


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