Ever wondered what it does to nutrients in your food?
“Food heat processing”, such as frying, boiling, steaming, and microwaving, inherently destroys nutrients in food [Fabbri & Crosby 2016].
However, this heating sometimes increases how many of these nutrients (especially protein) the body can digest and absorb, in part by destroying anti-nutrients which are typically found in raw (plant) foods.
For example, cooking an egg raises protein digestibility from 51 to 91% [Evenepoel 1998]. Eat that, Rocky.
Microwaving in particular stimulates molecules – mostly water – in food to vibrate and rub together, which emits heat which cooks the food.
Two big research reviews show microwaving your food actually doesn’t destroy more nutrients than traditional cooking methods [Cross 1982, Hoffman 1985], and generally preserves anti-oxidants and vitamin C in vegetables, with some research exceptions [Vallejo 2003].
Research generally shows microwaving your food is a convenient way to make it taste better and improve the digestibility of proteins. While it inherently destroys (anti)nutrients, it doesn’t destroy more of them than other cooking methods.
For the 100% raw food eaters out there: I’d rather heat process my eggplant, broccoli and mushrooms than eat them raw. But maybe it’s a matter of taste.