Winter 2016

Zap Those Veggies 

To nuke or not?

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Photo: Kelvin Ma

Jeanne P. Goldberg, G59, N86, a professor at the Friedman School and director of  the Nutrition Communication Program, serves as our expert.

Q: When I microwave frozen vegetables, am I destroying any of the nutrients in them?

A: 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 loss of nutrients during cooking are how long the vegetable is cooked, at what temperature and how much water is used. In addition, some vitamins are more easily destroyed than others. Because 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 to eat plenty of vegetables, and to follow the directions for cooking them that are provided on the package. Manufacturers have tested these carefully to provide the best-tasting product.

Send your questions for future installments of “Ask Tufts Nutrition” to Julie Flaherty, Tufts University Office of Publications, 80 George St., Medford, MA 02155, or email

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