Does Microwaving Eggs Destroy Nutrients

In this brief article, we will be answering the question, “does microwaving eggs destroy nutrients”, how to cook eggs properly, and will be discussing some more interesting facts about microwaving food.

Does Microwaving Eggs Destroy Nutrients?

The simple answer is no, you don’t lose nutrients when you cook eggs in a microwave. 

Whenever you cook eggs – microwave, fry, or bake – some nutrients are unavoidably lost. However, as per experts at the Harvard Medical School, the cooking method that preserves the most nutrients in food involves heating it for the minimum possible time with as little liquid as possible. Microwave heating is known for its operational safety and nutrient retention capacity with minimal loss of  heat-labile nutrients such as vitamins B and C, dietary antioxidants, phenols and carotenoids (1).

Taking this into account, microwaving eggs might actually help retain their nutrients, and microwaves might be among the healthiest methods to prepare food.

Are Microwaves Dangerous For Cooking Food?

Simply put, not at all. Most people believe that microwaves emit harmful radiation which causes cancer. However, the radiation linked with cancer is known as ionizing radiation. 

Microwave radiations are non-ionizing, and according to the American Cancer Society, they do not chemically alter body cells or DNA in food. They agree that microwaves do not make food radioactive. Microwaves use energy waves similar to radio waves to cook food, but shorter in wavelength. Microwave oven uses electromagnetic waves called microwaves to heat food. The micro-waves oscillate at a very high speed, normally 2450 times per second. When food is placed in a microwave oven, various food ingredients behave differently (1). 

These waves mainly target water molecules present in food. When food is heated, these molecules vibrate and produce heat which gradually warms the food from the outside in.

Industrially, the microwave has been used to pasteurize and sterilize food, including milk and liquid eggs, and efficiently eliminate hazardous bacteria such as C. botulinum. Microwave cooking has advantage of less loss of moisture contents and the greatest energy savings, and the nutrition of foods will be preserved very well (1).

What Makes Microwaved Eggs A Healthier Option?

Yes! Microwaved eggs and oven-cooked eggs have the same nutritional profile. Moreover, depending on what you cook the eggs with and how long you cook them in the microwave, you can enhance the egg’s nutritional value. The microwave cooking has shown to retain a higher percentage of major minerals (such as K, Ca, Na, and Mg) and minor elements (Cu, Fe and Zn) contrasting to fried cooking and traditional cooking methods. Microwave cooking also preserves better water soluble vitamins, such as ascorbic acid, folic acid, thiamin and riboflavin (1).

Here are a few important facts about microwaved eggs that you probably didn’t know:

  • Food scientists state that roasting, frying, and baking food can compromise as much as 80 to 90 percent of its nutrients due to the dry heat. But with microwaves, food is cooked faster and the exposure to heat is lesser, preserving many essential nutrients including vitamins (B1, B2, B6, C) and folic acid.
  • The limited heat in which eggs are cooked in a microwave helps kill harmful bacteria such as salmonella.
  • A study found that eggs retained only 39 to 45 percent of vitamin D when baked at a normal cooking temperature in an oven for about 40 minutes. Similarly, frying preserves 82 to 84 percent of vitamin D. Moreover, over-cooking the yolk makes them sticky and difficult for the body to absorb.
  • Microwaved poached eggs are made without butter or oil, which makes them healthier than the fat-soaked alternatives prepared in the oven.

What Are The Benefits of Cooking Eggs in the Microwave?

Here are some reasons to stop cooking your eggs in the frying pan or oven and turn to the microwave for a more nutritious result:

Preserves Nutrients

As we’ve already explained in detail, cooking eggs in the microwave retains more nutrients because of less heat and less cooking time.

Doesn’t Need Supervision

With a frying pan and oven, you often need to stand guard to avoid burning or over-cooking. But with a microwave, you can simply pop food in, set the required time, and do other stuff till your food is ready. 

Conserves Energy

Microwaves require less energy to work as compared to conventional ovens. They generally operate at around 600 to 1,650 Watts, whereas an oven consumes around 3,000 Watts. Moreover, microwaves spend around 60 percent of their energy on heating food, whereas ovens spend only 12 to 14 percent.

Saves Time

When cooking eggs in an oven, you firstly need to preheat the appliance, and when using a frying pan, you need to wait for the oil to heat up or for water to boil. This generally takes several minutes, and you haven’t even gotten to cooking the eggs yet! Plus, there’s the hassle of cleaning the utensils afterward. 

With a microwave, you simply crack the eggs in a microwave-safe dish, place it in the microwave for a minute or two, and you’re good to go.

How To Cook Eggs In A Microwave?

 Finally, here are some tips for you to cook delicious and nutritious eggs in the microwave. 

  1. Carefully beat the eggs since the yolks generally cook quicker than whites because of more fat. So, if you’re cooking omelets, scrambled eggs, and other recipes that require beaten eggs, they’ll cook more evenly in the microwave.
  2. Use reasonably-sized eggs because gigantic eggs will require more time in the microwave than a reasonably-sized egg.
  3. Use minimum time to avoid over-cooking, use the shortest time with 10 to 15-second intervals at medium wattage till you’re done. Also, remember that eggs continue to cook even after removal from the microwave, so time your recipe accordingly.
  4. Promote even cooking by stirring the eggs and the ingredients before covering them with a microwave-safe lid and placing them in the appliance.

Conclusion

In this brief article, we answered the question, “does microwaving eggs destroy nutrients”, and discussed how to cook eggs properly, along with some more interesting facts about microwaving food.

If you have any more questions or comments please let us know.

References

  1. Kalla, Adarsh M. Microwave energy and its application in food industry: A reveiw. Asian J Dairy Food Res, 2017, 36, 37-44.