Doctor's Note

Also check out Second Strategy to Cooking Broccoli, and for more videos on nutrient absorption you can check out Raw Veggies Versus Cooked for Heart Disease.

And check out my other videos on cooking methods

For more context, also see my associated blog posts: Breast Cancer Stem Cells vs. BroccoliThe Best Foods: Test Your Nutrition KnowledgeAçai to Zucchini: antioxidant food rankingsPrevent Breast Cancer by Any Greens Necessary; and Rooibos & Nettle Tea.

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  • Oceanic

    So informative. I am surprised steaming was not included.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Oceanic–I was surprised too! I do have some videos that cover steaming, though. Check out all my videos on cooking methods
      .

      • Mark

        I would have loved to seen how the numbers would have shifted for boiling if you consumed the water.

        • Geoffrey Levens

          I don’t know anyone who does NOT consume the water when pressure cooking. Steaming not many do.

  • What about boiling vegetables in a soup (where you eat rather than throw away the vegetable water)? I would think that provides superior antioxidant retention.

  • tokyovegan

    Hi, Dr. I just discovered your site a couple days ago and am really getting a lot (of ammunition for whole-food plant based diet) out of it. My friend just asked me whether garlic was good for you (she likes to eats it roasted) and whether there’s such a thing as getting too much, so I turned to you, but surprisingly couldn’t find anything. Do you have an opinion on garlic?

  • Wow, I can cook pretty much any vegetable without fearing too much loss of nutrients! I’m so shocked about cooking carrots increasing in value about carrots and celery. I put carrots in my pasta.

    I’m curious what the raw food vegans would think of such studies.

    • Toxins

      Raw food vegans have just as bad science as the paleolithic diet advocates! It’s all very cherry picked and involves a lot of half truths.

      • I’ve experienced what you’re describing. I’d still air on the opinions of the raw vegans though. Of course, I have more in common with them, but I try to be as impartial as I can.

        • RalphRhineau

          Hi, Tan, I think the word you wanted for the phrase “I’d ‘air’ on the opinions…” is “err”… i.e., “I’d ‘err on the opinions…”.

          Lot’s of people make that mistake these days because the pronounciation of the word has shifted from “urh” to “air”, and so they spell the word they way they hear the word. Doesn’t help things that the word “error” is pronounced “air-or”.

          The inconsistency of how letter combinations are pronounced in English is what makes it so difficult when compared to languages like Spanish & German. My hunch is that English inherited this variable pronunciation trait and use of silent letters from the French when Bill the Bastard (aka Williams the Conquerer) occupied and took over the governance of England in back in 1066.

      • I think seeing the results is the most persuasive. And trying them for yourself. Whatever you eat (not counting animals) is digested in a few hours to a couple of days.

    • jim.artmeier

      It’s a mixed bag. Cooking carrots breaks the cell walls and allows carotenoids and other nutrients to escape and become biologically available to us (we can’t digest cellulose plant walls). However the cooking destroys the vitamin C content. So it’s good to have them both ways. I juice them in a Vitamix, and it is the best of both worlds – it can shear the cells apart freeing internal nutrients without destroying heat-labile nutrients

      • Toxins

        The vitamin c content is reduced, but not destroyed. We could just eat one more of the cooked vegetable to make up for the loss, plus we could eat more of it since its pre digested. But you are correct in it being a mixed bag, many phytonutrients in the cruciferous greens are deactivated when cooking, while others are enhanced.

      • I also blend my carrots in the Vitamix, but as part of the pasta sauce; I blend it to powder, LOL. The kids I have over know about it and don’t mind since it’s hardly noticeable.

      • Crazysexyfuntraveler

        Agreed ;) I do the same!

  • Vegan for Life

    I use a pressure cooker to steam small beets. I routinely take off the thin skins with my hands, before eating them. Nutritionally, is it better to leave them on?

  • lcvegn

    Did the study (or any others you’re familiar with) analyze the cooking methods for other nutrient loss/gain aside from antioxidants? Is antioxidant preservation the best metric to use when determining an optimal cooking method? Thanks!

  • FranceQuebec

    I am surprised that the microwave isn’t singled out as a bad cooking method because I often read or hear stuff mostly on the internet according to which microwave destroys the nutrients in food and thus such a cooking method should be avoided. You might have heard yourself advice against micowaving infant milk (1 960 000 occurrences with “infant”, “milk”, “microwave” from search on Google). Would you be kind enough to explain this discrepancy?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      The chief reason it’s not a good idea to thaw breast milk in a microwave is that they heat unevenly and scald your baby.

    • Toxins

      To add on to Dr. Greger’s comment, there has been little evidence that microwaving foods in general makes them bad to eat. The word “nuking” is tossed around with microwaving but X rays have nothing to do with microwaving. All cooking methods provide certain nutrient loss (to an extent). Boiling specific plant foods, especially bell peppers and green leefies causes a significant drop in antioxidant content unless you drink the liquid, more so than microwaving.

      We should eat vegetables whichever way entices us to eat the most. If for example we lose some nutrients from boiling broccoli, just eat an extra floret to make up for the loss. Not only that, but you can eat more florets because the heat is basically pre digestion.

      A very informative video on this is here: http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/raw-food-nutrient-absorption-2/

      Don’t get me wrong though, eating raw food is essential for optimal health. There is nothing more nutritious than a big raw, dark leefy green salad!

  • Geoffrey Levens

    Well fer cryin’ out loud! The nutrients aren’t “lost” by boiling or pressure cooking, they are just displaced into the water. Easy fix for that, consume the water!!! I always do that. Why the heck would anyone not eat the cook water???

  • Michael Greger M.D.
  • Michael Greger M.D.
  • Michael Greger M.D.

    For some context, please also check out my associated blog post Breast Cancer Stem Cells vs. Broccoli!

  • I’m sorry but the microwave is by far the worst method of cooking then all the others. Perhaps it shows the nutrients stay put because there was no way of escaping (who was this study funded by, btw?) but that doesn’t address the point that the very cellular structure has been altered and damaged and therefore your body will not absorb or digest the nutrients not to mention all the RADIATION that is emitted. Germans built microwaves in WWII to supply warm food during the war. Since many came down with blood cancer (leukemia) overnight they including Russia banned them. I love most everything on your website but I really hope you don’t endorse the use of microwaves. 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBX_B8WQEwM

    • Toxins

      There is no evidence that if someone was to follow an optimally healthy
      lifestyle and diet that the use of a microwave to heat some of their
      foods is going to cause any major health problems or is related to any
      of the main reasons why American die prematurely.

      Microwaves and X rays are not the same thing. The food is not contaminated with mutagenic radiation after cooking.

      If you could provide evidence from peer reviewed medial journals (not opinions on youtube) then I will gladly take note of this issue more in depth.

      • 5ko

        there is no scientific evidence or proof that cigarettes are killing you or alcohol, or GMO, or chemotherapy…

      • Bernd

        Dear,

        As a physicist, it seems logical to me that a microwave oven does not destroy food more than any other heating method. However, I did find this paper:

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jsfa.1585/abstract
        97% of flavonoid contents destroyed in Broccoli after Microwaving.

        What is your opinion on this?

        Kind regards,

        • Rami Najjar – NF Moderator

          I cannot access the full text, so we don’t know what the cooking times were. Take a look at the nutritionfacts video below: you will notice that 5 min. of cooking broccoli will destroy much of the phytonutrients, while less, at 2 min., was not as destructive and near equivalent to raw in terms of the specific phytonutrients they examined.

          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/raw-vs-cooked-broccoli-2/

    • brianwd
  • Margaret

    Hey! I love raw brussels sprouts, thinly sliced, in my deliciously crunchy salads! You should try them!

  • bee

    I dont understand how microwaving is healthiest!  Everything Ive ever researched said it was the most damaging way to cook foods and may be cancer causing.  

    What is the best way to cook beans and starches, if boiling and pressure cooking is not healthy?

    I thought that water-based cooking produced the least carncinogens….baking and anything that browns food makes carcinogens.

    I’m not understanding the science behind the video….

    • Toxins

       There is little to no scientific evidence showing that microwaves are harmful when ingesting microwaved foods despite what may be said on the internet. Boiling beans and starches is a very healthy method and does not cause significant nutrient loss in these foods.

      The science behind the video is in regards to antioxidant content. The best cooking method for preserving the antioxidants seems to be microwaving (although I would guess steaming would be even healthier.)

      • stacy

        Thanks, Toxins!

        So how did the microwave/radiation scare come in to play, then?  How do microwaves work…I thought it emits radiation, which spins the cells, thus creating heat?

        If this study was in regards to antioxidants, then what is the best cooking method to preserve macronutrients and micronutrients?  For instance, the more something is heated, the more likely it is to denature proteins and such

        So, it a microwaves sweet potato healthier than a steamed or baked sweet potato?

        • Toxins

           Radiation is a term referring to waves. Radiation can be used  to describe light waves, uv rays, x rays and microwaves as well. The microwaves, from what is so far known, does not have mutagenic properties when exposed to cells. Microwaves and x rays are not the same.

          These losses in macronutient content is fairly small and is not significant enough to cause an overall dietary impact.

          • stacy

            Good to know..thanks for debunking that! I gave away my microwave 2 yrs ago bc of the supposed health risks associated with it.

            To reheat leftovers, is microwaving the best method?

            Are microwaved sweet potatoes healthier than baked or steamed, then? And what about rice and veggies—does microwaving STILL trump all other cooking methods?

            Dr Fuhrman seems against microwaving, for he seems to recommend steaming or water sauteeing. Any thoughts on these issues?

          • Wouter

            A lot of people just seem to get scared, because some other people use the term radiation when they discuss the microwaves in a microwave. However microwaves are indeed a form of radiation, it has no link to radioactive radiation: the think people automaticly think about.
            Light is also a form of radiation, so is WiFi, heat (infrared), FM and AM radio.
            Radioactive radiation has either extreme high energy (gamma-ray) (microwave doesn’t even get close to 0,001% ) or consists of actual subatomic particles that can collide with DNA and cause damage.
            Microwaves just transport energy to heat up stuff relatively fast. (Actually wireless chargers for your phone also use microwaves, but another wavelength.)

  • mikeysbro

    I have heard from various sources like the following ;
    http://www.ontariotenants.ca/health/articles/2003/gm-03j17.phtml

    that the flavonoids are all most all destroyed by cooking in microwaves compared to   other forms of cooking. Flavonoids being a symbiotic componet in fruits, vegetables, and herbs that help form a symbiotic relationship with other componets inside the fruit, vegetable, or herb that help humans utilize various vitamins(ie bioflavonoids). In addition, these flavonoids(effectiveness) would be destroyed in whole herbs. If the flavonoids etc are damaged or destroyed largely by microwave cooking, would that not also destroy the effectiveness of the vitamins (in that vitamins or flavonoids are only one or two componet/s of many contained in a fruit, vegetable, or herb that are dependant upon flavonoids for proper function in the human body)? 

    Could one say that destruction of flavonoids would reduce the synergistic relationship within the plant and in the human body rendering whatever microwaved food/herb either decreased in activity or destroyed almost entirely…? curious..

  • Ladderpower

    This is very interesting that cooking doesn’t destroy some anti-oxidants. High temps do however destroy enzymes so if one is wanting to increase the amount of live enzymes in their diet cooking would be something to cut back on.

  • So, you think I’m better off not eating vegetables at all than eating sauteed vegetables? Your videos have shown olive oil to be pretty harmless (though full of empty calories), so if it entices me to eat tons more vegetables, is it really that horrible? For me, a little bit of oil goes a long way in my enjoyment of vegetables, whether on a salad or sauteed.

    • Toxins

      Oil has more of an impact than just empty calories.

      Dr. Vogel conducted a study that compared different fats and oils (olive oil, canola oil, and salmon) and how they impaired our endothelieum cells. Our endothelieum cells are within our blood vessels lining their walls. They keep clots from forming and keep our blood running smoothly. It also helps our blood vessels dilate and contract when needed. The participants of the study ate a meal containing 3.5 tablespoons of olive oil and the examiners measured their arterial damage after 3 hours. “Contrary to part of our hypothesis, our study found that omega-9 (oleic acid)-rich olive oil impairs endothelieum function postprandially.”

      They also make note that “In terms of their postprandial effect on endothelieum function, the beneficial components of the Mediterranean and Lyon Diet Heart Study diets appear to be antioxidant-rich foods, including vegetables [and] fruits”

      Fruits and vegetables can be attributed to making our cardiovascular system healthy, not oil.

      http://content.onlinejacc.org/cgi/content/full/36/5/1455

      It was even noted that “In a clinical study, olive oil was shown to
      activate coagulation factor VII to the same extent as does butter. Thus, olive oil does not have a clearly beneficial effect on vascular
      function.”

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9409274

      Another study looked at different oils (olive, soybean and palm oils). They had their patients eat a potato soup. The soup either had 3 tablespoons of each oil OR they fried the potatoes in the oil. They too examined the extent of damage on the volunteers’ arteries. this is what they found “All the vegetable oils, fresh and deep-fried, produced an increase in the triglyceride plasma levels in healthy subjects.”

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17174226

      This is clearly not heart healthy for the short term, and the authors even note that they do not know if olive oil is healthy for the long term. So what about long term studies with olive oil? This 2 year study looked at coronary artery lesions of the heart after consuming different types of fat. Polyunsaturated fat (omega 3/6 type of fat) Monounsaturated fat (75% of which makes up olive oil) and Saturated fat (the kind found in mostly animal products). They looked at angiograms a year apart after intervening with increasing one type of fat in each group. All 3 fats were associated with a significant increase in new atherosclerosis lesions. Most importantly, the growth of these lesions did not stop when polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats were substituted for saturated fats. Only by decreasing all fat intake including the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats did the lesions stop growing.

      http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/263/12/1646.abstract?sid=47d1d016-3c15-43f4-a013-0d10144ef8e3

      Most current studies supporting olive oil are population studies with many other factors that could be affecting the diet

  • What do you think about Dr. Mercola’s research on why microwaves are bad? He cites current research studies. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/18/microwave-hazards.aspx

  • Mike

    Any data on baking vegetables such as kale? – I like to make kale chips by baking the leaves for about 10 minutes at 300 degrees. The leaves dry out and are crunchy, but not burned.

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    I don’t know how I ever overlooked this great study! Thanks for the find!

  • Thank you Dr. Greger for all this great information! So are microwaves scientifically known to be bad to the human body?

  • RobynVilhelm

    Could you elaborate on pan frying? I eat most of my veggies fried with a bit of water at a low heat without oil, does that add empty calories as well?

  • Wow – I actually got that right about the bell peppers. But don’t raw foods give you more ENZYMES? They seem to give so much more ENERGY! Raw food gives me power to stay busy. Cooked foods make me want to take a little nap so I can digest them. FASCINATING video in any event. Thanks!

  • I’m not sure I understand completely the Spanish study on anti-oxidants. Did they look at the effects of cooking on the enzymes in garlic that convert to allicin or the enzymes in crucifers that convert to isothiocyanates? Are there other important phytochemicals besides antioxidants that they did or did not consider?

  • Ken

    Regarding microwaving foods … of course it is good to look for peer reviewed research, but first of all it is best to use your common sense. A lot of this good research that Dr Greger makes available to us wasn’t available before, but that didn’t stop us from making judgment calls on what to do when lacking hard evidence. Several years ago my oncologist told me that there wasn’t hard peer reviewed evidence to support that a plant based diet would help me survive the stage 4 cancer I had. I used my common sense and am so glad I did. Several years later he is telling me that the evidence appears to be coming! Heating food by use of microwaves goes against common sense. Radiation is high-heat cooking. High-heat cooking is usually considered a poor choice for multiple reasons. Radiation is used to destroy cancer cells by applying high heat to them. People exposed to radiation in the past, not knowing it was damaging, later came down with cancer. Why on earth would anyone focused on healthy living want to use radiation to cook food? Being a whole-foods vegan is one of best choices of my life, but it takes more time and effort. I think it best to take the time to cook food without taking the microwave shortcut. Why do all the right things, but then mess it up to save a few minutes cooking?

    • macbev

      You are referring to two different kinds of radiation as if they were the same. That is like saying all vehicles are the same, when a vehicle can be a car or a bus, or a substance you dissolve things in, like oil and solvents being a vehicle for oil based paint, or water being a vehicle for water based paint, or alcohol being a vehicle for certain medicinal preparations.

      Light waves are a kind of radiation too. Would you refuse to use light waves to see? Microwaves and gamma waves are not the same. Gamma waves, X-rays, etc. are called IONIZING radiation. They are the ones used to destroy cancer cells.

  • Katie

    Wonderful information! I was curious, if one is making a vegetable soup in the pressure cooker, however, the antioxidants would be in the broth, and thus be consumed? Correct?

  • Jill, The Veggie Queen

    Dear Doctor,

    You are certainly not recommending that we microwave?

    I will defend the pressure cooker here because when I use the pressure cooker, I do not have any water to throw away because it all gets reabsorbed into the vegetable.

    And often I make vegetable stock in the pressure cooker in 5 minutes at pressure (not having to by cans, jars or packages) and use that to cook my vegetables which also boosts the nutrition.

    As you know, one study does not a cooking method make. I am not likely (as a Registered Dietitian or person who teaches cooking) to start recommending that people nuke their food for their health.

    I find that pressure cooking if done correctly is better than steaming because it is super steaming without air which as you know oxidizes food. And why didn’t they include steaming?

    Please tell me that is not what you are saying here…

    I

    • Dear Veggie Queen,
      Could you tell us how to steam pressure cook? I’ve heard that’s a good way of preserving polyphenols in beans.

  • Hi Dr. Greger,
    What about steaming???
    Thanks,
    Gaby

  • XabaCs

    Dr. Michael, I find your video very interesting and useful, thank you for posting!
    Do you have any information related to other different food preparation methods, such as: parching, smoke-drying, braising, pickling?
    Your help would be much appreciated!

    BR.,
    H.Csaba

  • Don’t we have to look beyond anti-oxidants to understand the effects of cooking? For example, the anti-oxidants in onions may survive cooking but cooking can kill the enzyme allinase, which is responsible for producing the healthy sulfurs. Ditto for the enzymes in broccoli that produce cancer- fighting compounds. http://eatandbeatcancer.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/anti-cancer-recipes-should-you-cook-onions/

    • Toxins

      More information can be found in this video here
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/sometimes-the-enzyme-myth-is-true/

      • mitch

        I’m curious, How do they cook the broccoli in the microwave? Steam microwave or just throw it in with nothing, just a plate and veg?

        • Thea

          mitch, I don’t know how “they” do it, but I thought I would share how I do it: which is to “coat” the broccoli in a bit of water. When I’m done, there might be a couple tablespoons of standing water at the bottom of the bowl. This method has worked really well for me. The broccoli says moist, but it’s not being boiled this way. There’s probably a better way to do it, but as I said, this works well for me. Good luck.

        • Toxins

          I believe this addresses how they cooked the veggies.
          “Microwaving: the vegetable (500 g) was placed in a glass dish without additional water, and cooked in a domestic microwave oven ”
          http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1750-3841.2009.01091.x/full

  • me8932

    Superb video. Love it!

  • Rosemary Guy

    A few years ago my mother had myeloid leukemia and i read studies suggesting that microwave cooking increased white blood cells and that raw was best for keeping white blood cells low. I use aq microwave sparing because of this. Any thoughts?

    • Thea

      Rosemary Guy: I haven’t seen the studies you mention, but I have seen every other argument against microwaves “zapped” to smithereens. :-) Here’s one of the beset sites I have seen in regards to debunking microwave myths:

      http://www.drmyattswellnessclub.com/Microwave.htm

      She doesn’t address the white blood cell issue that you are concerned about. But I can’t think of how cooking with a microwave would cause changes in blood cells beyond what any other cooking method would cause. Perhaps the above post, along with the references which you can check out, will help put the issue into perspective. If it’s no help, then I hope someone else will reply to your post.

      Good luck.

  • Eric Agbagbey

    What are the best cooking methods?

  • traxmom

    I have yet to read any convincing evidence that microwaving foods makes them unhealthy for us. I’ve read plenty of articles that talk about how terrible microwave ovens are, but I remain unconvinced. Is there real evidence of negative effects of that method of heating food? I sure wish you’d take that up as a topic, Dr. Greger! :)

  • Kitty

    Dear Dr. Greger and Toxins, I’ve posted this question a few weeks ago. Did you get it? I would really like to know what you think about this:
    Did you ever hear about Dr. Hans Ulrich Hertel? I read about his Swiss Clinical Study In 1991: A “small, but well controlled study” that “showed the degenerative force produced in microwave ovens and the food processed in them. The scientific conclusion showed that microwave cooking changed the nutrients in the food; and, changes took place in the participants’ blood that could cause deterioration in the human system. Hertel’s scientific study was done along with Dr. Bernard H. Blanc of the Swiss other studies “concerning the biological effects of microwaves”: “The initial research conducted by the Germans during the Barbarossa military campaign, at the Humbolt-Universitat zu Berlin (1942-1943); and, From 1957 and up to the present [until the end of the cold war], the Russian research operations were conducted at: the Institute of Radio Technology at Kinsk, Byelorussian Autonomous Region; and, at the Institute of Radio Technology at Rajasthan in the Rossiskaja Autonomous Region, both in the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics.”


I have one more question: Is an electromagnetic stove similar to a microwave?

    • Thea

      Kitty:

      I think you might find the following page helpful:

      http://www.drmyattswellnessclub.com/Microwave.htm

      I don’t know much about Dr. Myatt’s general qualifications, but this particular page seems to be well researched to me. She has a section on the supposed Hertel research.

      Again, I don’t know how valid the data is on the above page, but it sure does make sense to me.

      Hope that helps.

      • Kitty

        Hi Thea, thank you so much! This helped a lot! :-)

        • Thea

          Personally, I use the microwave all the time for cooking. It saves a bunch of time and effort and often allows me to cook without oils.

          I’m so glad I helped. Thanks for letting me know.

  • veggiegirl55

    I’d like to give pressure cookers a better rap sheet. They have wonderful vegan applications, like turning dried beans and whole grains into fast foods. Jill Nussinow (MS RD)’s book has me cooking pearled barley into tender as part of great soups and other dishes in about 20 minutes. Steel cut oats are delicious for breakfast in 3-5 minutes cooking time. ETC. For soups, onions, carrots, and celery can go in at the start along with veggie broth and grains. More delicate items (peppers, tomatoes, greens) get added at the end. It’s truly whole food, and plant based, with many different phytonutrients coming together. It’s also so easy that it’s FAST food, too. By the way, modern pressure cookers are light years from ones you may remember in the past. Once pressure is achieved, the heat is cut to almost off (usually lower than simmer) — just enough to maintain pressure. The only entry you have for pressure cooking is for veggies.

    Since you also encourage eating whole grains, and pressure cookers can make them FAST food — shouldn’t that get them honorable mention?

  • barbarabrussels

    Great finds doctor!

  • vince

    Had my esophagus removed what is the best veggies for me . I can’t eat meat any more won’t go down

  • Gale Beardsley

    We would appreciate your help. My wife sautés onions and garlic in olive oil. We use them with our nightly steamed broccoli, kale, and collard greens. We keep the garlic and onions in the frig, having sautéd enough for several days. We recently noticed the garlic changing color over a couple of days. It takes on a metallic green color! IS IT SAFE TO EAT?
    Thank you for any advice.

  • Ravi K

    Any thoughts on pressure cooking chick peas, lentils, brown rice and such? Is the pressure cooker bad for veggies only?

  • Victor

    Doctor, Doctor!
    What’s better – more antioxidants in my diet, or more anti-nutrients? (relative to the plant being consumed)

  • Patrícia

    Hi Dr!
    I am a nutrition student here in Brazil and I love your videos and researches!
    Thank you a lot!
    I want to be just like you in the future!

  • Kim

    Microwaving destroys nutrients, microwaved water will not even germinate seeds. Cooked beets create toxins..best eaten raw…

    • Wade Patton

      no

  • Ben Ehrich

    I wonder about the damage to food that some claim comes from microwaving, aside from the temperature factor. I’ve heard that microwaving produces free radicals in food, and I saw an experiment where they watered two plants, one with purified water and one with microwaved water. The plant watered with microwaved water died within a week, but I’m not positive on the legitimacy of the experiment.

    • Thea

      Ben: Your concern is well placed given the information that you generally find out there about microwaves. However, I’ve found that the anti-microwave information is pretty much based on urban legends repeated over and over again – often by sites that one would think is reputable.

      Here is a link to my favorite site for busting those microwave myths, including the one you mention above about the plants:
      http://www.drmyattswellnessclub.com/Microwave.htm

      Hope that helps.

  • Neddy

    I thought that the microwave killed enzymes and so it should not be used because of that.

  • Loni

    I just bought an electric pressure cooker thinking it was the best way to keep the nutrients in the food by not cooking for as long and not frying or nuking my food. That’s the way it was touted in the commercial. What about pressure cooking meats?

  • Valerie

    What about stir frying with no oil? I use vegetable stock to stir fry and leave my food crunchy but slightly cooked.

  • Snowgrrl

    I wish there was a transcript with this. Video is nice, but rather read this…

    • Thea

      Snowgrrl: You are in luck! Click the “transcript” link under any video on this site to expand the transcript. The transcript does not include the charts and pictures, but I agree that sometimes it is nice to read the information. I use both myself.

      • Snowgrrl

        I actually found it after I posted my comment.. LOL

  • Youcef

    Let’s not forget this is only based on antioxidants. How about vitamins? general bio-availability? pathogens elimination? I notice you leave online old “obsolete” videos as they are, but perhaps you should include in them (through Youtube text boxes) link to more recent more complete videos to guide viewers to them. For instance, many of us are shocked to not only find that for instance steaming is not included, nor is slow cooking, but also that the video is named “Best cooking method” based on antioxidant loss alone. The equation is much more complex than just antioxidants to lead us to a decision. I generally notice that people mistakenly take decisions based on many of the videos you make. Sometimes it’s obvious what decision to take based on the studies you present, but in many cases the video is purely informative and provides little to take any decisions upon, yet the comments show people do take decisions based on them (ie in vivo studies). Could you please make more clear what the limitations of your facts are and be more clear about whether or not it’s actionable and how? Thank you.

    • mike

      Dr. Gregor is not actually giving advice.
      He’s just reporting the results of scientific studies.

      • Youcef

        I agree. What I pointed to is two things. As a public service I feel he should discourage people from extrapolating the data and taking action based on them. A lot do based on the comments. The other thing is the limitation of his focus should be stated clearly. The purpose of this website is to break down science publications to the general public. Dealing with such a variety of uninformed people, you can’t call a video “Best cooking method” if that’s not what it delivers, and you can’t put in their heads the idea that a food is healthy only if it has a lot of antioxidants (it’s what he said, but this is what can be easily deduced by people who know little about nutrition). In short an expert would see the limitations of the information presented, but the general public requires extra care in communication to avoid misunderstanding the data.

        • parakalo

          EXCELLENT Answer!!!!!! We don’t trust this nice guy at all who is clearly after money donation and misleading. He’s NOT on people’s side he’s on the Others’ side working for them

          • Youcef

            I didn’t comment on Dr. Greger trustworthiness, I only said I’d welcome more rigor in titling and avoiding predictable misinterpretations. I actually quite trust Dr. Greger with his intentions and my comment is just feedback to improve further.

  • Lam Mour

    Dear Doctor, Is microwave bad for us to use to cook anything? Please advise? Thanks

  • Cynysha Thompson

    With all due respect to the good doctor who always puts out informative and extremely helpful information, I do not agree with nor do the overall numbers support microwave cooking. A microwave is a mini distributor of radiation. In fact microwaves are so dangerous, especially to those with compromised immune systems, illnesses or diseases in general, that when in use no one should be in it’s direct vicinity. I live with a compromised immune system and did not find out until very late in life after experiencing countless and very trying set backs with my health. Due to experience I discovered that ingesting microwaved food introduces acidity to the human system which is the catalyst to disease and general non wellness. For a perfectly healthy person seldom use of a microwave doesn’t seem to do any substantial harm, BUT for anyone compromised by major health issues it is a death machine. When documented disease rates were at it’s lowest in the West over one hundred years ago, a microwave was non existent. They boiled, baked, grilled over open flames and even fried. Now, with unprecedented numbers that continue to grow in rapidity only common sense can tell us that the majority of the practices in place where eating habits are concerned are really making us sick. Steaming, boiling and baking, with all numbers and measurement rates of various nutrients considered, are best aside from eating our vegetables and fruits raw.

  • Jam Lemana

    Hello Dr. Greger, In case one of these days you will make some visits in the Philippines especially in the southern part, i hope to have time of being coached by you. Id been embarking in the lifestyle based medicine (i am not a doctor, I’m a chemist by profession), but i admit i need more coaching. My province need more lifestyle based medical practitioner that will be able to help especially those who are financially challenged and have li’l or nothing to support any hospitalization. Sad to know, most of the doctors here are just milking patients and families resources. Our family is one of the victims of “un-hippocratic” oath of most of the doctors locally. My dad died last 2012, that is why in my lil ways I want to contribute for a better and healthier community with full sincerity in attending my clients. I am hoping to be able to get any help or services from you. I dont know how but I hope I can…

  • BelgianBicyclist

    Dr. Greger, as always great informative videos. Thanks. Your graphic of vegetables reminded me of a fine children’s book by Lois Ehlert – EATING THE ALPHABET. Even the endpapers are well thought out. I’m an elementary school librarian. We learn that A is for apple, apricot, artichoke, asparagus, and avocado. B is for banana, bean, beet, blueberry, broccoli, and Brussels sprout. The pictures inside are beautiful water paints. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-hKjMMFqpwdo/UAmuXZhr1qI/AAAAAAAAAqY/jLrW-gr841M/s1600/veggi.jpg

  • fred bernard

    When you cook vegies. you loose all of the enzymes which helps with the digestion. Killing the enzymes, by cooking, makes the body work harder to digest the food.

  • Julot Julott

    Because bell pepper is a fruit~

  • Bananaz

    sorry but are we not getting deductionist here? Anti oxidants are not the alpha and omega of nutrition. In studies I have done with chromatography (wick/filterpaper method) microwaving decimated nutrition….Raw stood supreme and next was steaming.

    • Youcef

      Interesting. What exactly do you mean by “nutrition” and would you send me these studies you did?

  • Ornella Bellamy

    Is there an extended or complete video?

  • Faizah Wehbi Downing

    Dr. Greger I love your videos, but I need all this information in my kitchen. Don’t you have cheat sheets or charts for all this information, including charts for “superfood bargains”, “best beans”, “best rice”, etc? We need charts so we can hang in our kitchen and to take to the supermarket when shopping! :)

  • István Heimer

    Microwave cooking! the best method??? I just gave away my MW because I have learnt that all nutrients are sucked up by the MW. It compaerd eating from MW to eating the bottom of my shoe!!!! I avoid restaurants where (everywhere) they heat up the food by MW. Am I mistaken?

  • Hello, So…pressure cooking lose nutritions and antioxidants in water. What if we use that water with food too, and keep the water? Like preparing a soup ?? in that case, would pressure cooking be off from the second worst method ?

  • Paul Lord Bootle Newton

    This is highly misleading! Microwaving destroys vitamins and minerals and is a VERY dangerous way to cook. Check out ‘Microwaves damage food, but something worse…..’ on Youtube. Steaming is best.Period.

    • Thea

      Paul: Alas, there are so many myths about the problems with microwaves. The following site does a great job of addressing each of the myths – with solid science. In other words, the following site likely addresses each and every point form your youtube video, plus more. I strongly encourage you to check this out:
      http://www.drmyattswellnessclub.com/Microwave.htm

      Since microwaving is so convenient in multiple ways, I would think that finding out microwaves are so safe would make for a happy day. I hope I made your day happy.

    • Wade Patton

      “Now, I know that once some people have their mind made up about something,
      it’s hard to confuse them with facts. I’m sorry to disappoint, dear
      readers, but anyone who believes there are “numerous studies” proving
      the microwave oven is unsafe, damages nutrients in food or somehow does
      other bad things hasn’t really taken a close look at the scientific
      research on the issue. Many laymen — and even a number of
      “scientists” — are also seriously confused about the difference
      between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, and even what the term
      “radiation” means…”

      Source: http://www.drmyattswellnessclub.com/Microwave.htm Thea linked it below (thanks Thea). I use excerpt to “show” folks some of the text without them having to lift their clicky finger.

  • Rodrigo Cardoso

    Translated into Portuguese here / Legendado em Português aqui: http://nf.focoempatico.net/melhor-metodo-cozinhar/

  • Roger

    I love this site. I’m a retired Pharmaceutical Research
    Scientist. I watch your videos every day. I have been looking for the effects
    of cooking methods for some time now. So thank you for this piece. I microwave all
    vegetables.

    • Thea

      Roger: I too love my microwave and use it for a whole lot of cooking – not just reheating food. I particularly like using the microwave in place of sauteing mushrooms and/or onions. Fast and hassle-free and no need for oil.

      Thanks for sharing.

  • GordonJ

    regarding oil: it was my understanding that oil is needed for the absorption of certain vitamins within the gastrointestinal tract, and that it is therefore appropriate to add a small amount of oil to vegetables when cooking- is that wrong?

    • Thea

      GordonJ: Here is my standard response to this type of question. I hope it helps.

      NutritionFacts/Dr Greger recommends a whole plant food based diet, which naturally includes fat. But this site does not recommend oil as a health food. Here are Dr. Greger’s nutrition recommendations, which I believe will be expanded upon (and maybe even tweaked?) when his book comes out in December:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/
      And if you search, you can see some videos that address say olive oil.

      Nuts and seeds on the other hand are whole plant foods that have lots of fat in them. Dr. Greger has a bunch! of videos showing that nuts and seeds are health-promoting foods. (Especially check out videos on flax). I seem to recall that Dr. Greger recommends about the same amount of nuts/seeds that other respected nutrition experts recommends, about 1 to 2 ounces a day. So, not a large part of a diet. But definitely part of a healthy diet.

      You could add some whole nuts to your veggies instead of oil and get the best of all worlds: A little extra fat to absorb extra nutrients from veggies and yet be consuming wholesome health-promoting food. *My* opinion is: On the other hand, if you really truly are eating a diet made up of whole plant foods and you occasionally want to add a small amount of oil, that probably isn’t going to hurt.

      Put Another Way: So, are oils really out?!? Say it isn’t so! Here is how I put this into perspective. Jeff Novick has a GREAT talk called “From Oil to Nuts”. (I highly recommend it.) Part of that video is available free on youtube. The following clip compares olive oil to sugar.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbALgjmZUek

      From the video:

      A) Sugar = junk food = empty calories. and

      B) Oil = junk food = even more empty calories (since oil is twice as calorie dense as sugar).

      This comparison really helped me. While I understand that it is best to avoid sugar, that doesn’t mean that I never eat sugar. I just try to limit sugar as best I can. A person who occasionally eats some sugary treats or a sauce with sugar in it is probably going to be fine. I just don’t kid myself that sugar is healthy. That’s my personal decision. I take the same approach for oils. I don’t think a *tiny* amount of oil would really hurt me in the context of a truly healthy whole plant food based diet. Personally, I try to limit oils to desserts since it is so easy to get rid of oil from main dishes. I don’t need it for my veggies.

      Here’s one more sort-of reference that might help. I can’t find the actual page, but I remember seeing a page where Jeff Novick directly addressed this question about needing fat to absorb all the nutrients from vegetables. I think he made some good points and one of them was something like (if I remember correctly): that we don’t have to maximize the plant nutrients from every bit if all we are eating is plants. Then we will get enough nutrients. We don’t need more than ‘enough’.

  • Reem Ali

    Hello doctor!!I’d like to ask you about a different topic,, does tomato contain galactose?? I’m preparing a nutritional instructions for galactosemia and I found contradictory information about galactose content in tomatoes. I need your help,please.

  • June Ribaldi

    Very Surprising. I gave the Microwave away an went Raw 100% Organic 1 Method left out was Cooking in the SEDONA Dehydrator.

  • June Ribaldi

    Is not the best way to preserve nutrients in a Cold Press Juicer ?

  • Blaice

    Despite being old, I absolutely love this video. I often (religiously) make something I like to call a stirfry, curry, chowmein, etc “bake” where I take the leftovers of what my lady and I had made, and add them to a great mix of veg, lentils, brown rice, and red rice. I take red and brown rice with lentils and layer the bottom of a ceramic dish (sometimes stainless steel depending on at work or home). From there I rinse the mix with my hand serveral times mixing in clean water and draining. After that I leave a layer of water probably a half inch or so above the mix, from there I mix in organic soysauce, or one of the many leftover dishes. I love the curry-based one (ground sweet potato and butternut squash with tons of spices). I mix that with the water and lentils then start layering veg on top (broc, cauli, carrots, artichokes [addicted], onion, tomato, etc.) from whatever vegetable in sight that i can grab, and then layer tofu on top and cover with foil (it serves to steam the mix while it is also being heated externally). After about an hour and a half to two hours in the toaster oven (I like it because it RARELY burns anything) at 450F it tastes AMAZING! I recommend anyone give this a try on their own!

    • Thea

      GREAT tip! Thanks!

  • Vincent Sancho

    Hi Dr. Any recommendations on the safest type of cookware. There are so many and I was wondering if there have been any studies done regarding cookware safety. Thanks

  • Regina

    I’m surprised to hear you say microwaving is healthy. Most everything i have read say just the opposite. Do you have any resources to share on this?

    • Thea

      Regina: I’m glad you asked! The overwhelming misinformation about microwaves that you find repeated again and again is a perfect example (for me anyway) on how the internet can go wrong. To me, this is what going ‘viral’ really is, because the result is so destructive. While I think the following site is often full of bad information in general, no one is wrong about everything. I think the following article does a fantastic job of debunking the microwave myths, complete with references, that I’m sure you have read about:
      http://www.drmyattswellnessclub.com/Microwave.htm
      .
      Plus, Dr. Greger has some videos on microwaves that back up what the above article claims:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/best-cooking-method/
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/raw-vs-cooked-broccoli-2/
      .
      The cautions for microwaving are: Stay away from plastic in the microwave. Skip the butter flavored microwave popcorn (see videos on NutritionFacts for this). Beware that the microwave can make food hot (duh) and create hot spots, including super heat water without looking like it. Keep in mind that microwaving meant heating the food. So, like other heating methods, some nutrients are destroyed and others are made more absorbable by the body. Over cooking can destroy more nutrients than lightly cooking.
      .
      If you get a chance to read the article above from the first link, I would be curious to hear what you think of microwaves after reading that article and whether this response has helped you.

      • Regina

        Thea, I read the article completely. I’m a bit flabbergasted. I’ve been anti microwave for many years but I am not too proud to say it sure looks like I have been a victim of all the bad information on the web. Wow. This is actually quite liberating as I can now use our microwave without guilt. I can also feel better about my husband using it. I only use it to disinfect my kitchen sponge (assuming that is not an urban legend too). What bothers me is that the bad information is so voluminous and I don’t think I’ve ever seen an article on the benefits or safety of using it. This has me shaking my head as in how easily we can be led astray. I have been reading Dr. Greger’s book and it’s great! Then I started watching the videos. You guys are making a big difference in my life and I thank you for taking the time to answer my post.

        • Thea

          Regina: You are awesome. It is because of people like you that I loving spending time on NutritionFacts. Most people with a strongly held opinion would not even click the link, let alone read it and think about it.

          I agree that it is most disturbing how voluminous the bad information is. It makes me wonder what I believe in because I have read it everywhere – and yet it is simply not true.

          For the microwave information – I have seen similar information in other places, but more spread out (a bit here, a bit there) and very hard to find. That one page above was a real find because it puts so much helpful information in one place, as well as including references. I cook with the microwave (along with other cooking options such as the pressure cooker) all the time and find that the microwave is great, because it helps me to avoid cooking with oil and saves me time and energy.

          So glad I could help. Thank you for your reply.

          • Regina

            Thea, I nuked a sweet potato for brunch and it actually caused me some anxiety. It was delicious though. One last thing, are some microwaves better than others and should an old one be replaced? Have they improved over the years? Thank you.

          • Thea

            You are on your way to cooking freedom! Good for you!. FYI: I cook potatoes in the microwave all the time, and it works great. I usually do it in a glass container with a loose glass lid and about an inch or two of water. I turn it half way. It is sort of a combination of microwaving and steaming and boiling. It comes out very moist. Lately, I’ve been buying organic, purple fleshed sweet potatoes from Trader Joes that are soooo goooood. And super pretty looking in various dishes.
            .
            Concerning microwave safety: It’s been a while since I looked into it. I do remember reading that older microwaves can be a problem. I don’t know how many of those are still operational. I would say that microwaves are cheap enough now that if it would give you peace of mind, just get a new one. I recently had to get a new one due to a broken handle and some other issues. I got a built-in above the oven/hood microwave, and I LOVE the user interface and set of features. If you are interested, it is the Adora line from GE. It’s one of the more powerful cooking levels out there for home use.

      • GEBrand

        Thea, I don’t know if you are still monitoring this video, but I just found it (don’t know how I missed it). Nonetheless, I wanted to thank you for the very excellent synopsis by Dr. Myatt. I’ve always felt that microwave ovens were a non-problem (probably because I have a science background and could think it through logically on my own I felt), but seeing such an excellent presentation with the science attached is a truely wonderful piece of information. Thank you for bringing it to us.

        In another comment in this thread (below), the comment has to do with the question: Don’t we need fat to absorb the nutrients in certain vegetables? And: don’t we need to eat most vegetables raw (uncooked) or juiced for best nutrient availability?

        Vegetables are often thought to have no fat in them. This is not true. Broccoli and tomatoes, for example, have about 9% fat as a part of their makeup. (the rest about 70-80% complex carbohydrate and the remainder is protein). To me THIS IS THE BEAUTY OF PLANTS. They already have everything in them needed for good nutrition. It comes as a package. How do you think giraffes, elephants, elk, etc get appropriate nutrition without adding olive oil to their daily salad?
        Look at the nutritional profiles of tomatoes and broccoli here (and then look at other veggies):
        http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2356/2
        http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2682/2

        Some vegetables improve with cooking. Jo Robinson, in her most excellent book Eating On The Wild Side, provides us with the science that shows that the longer you cook tomatoes, the more the lycopene content in the tomatoes increases.

        This is just exactly why I love this site – The information and discussion is based on the facts (as we know them for today) and is not based on urban/internet myth. Science and Facts – my cup of tea!

        • Thea

          GEBrand: I agree, this site is awesome.
          .
          Your comments about veggies and their wholeness in terms of the three macronutrients is a good one. That’s why I find it so weird that say broccoli can have so much fat in it, but it takes additional fat for our bodies to absorb the most nutrients from the food. In one of Dr. Greger’s videos (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/forego-fat-free-dressings/ ), he even shows one study showing that when it comes to certain phytonutrients, that without *extra* fat, none of those particular nutrients were absorbed by the body.
          .
          But then your last point, about other animals not needing to add olive oil (or nuts or avocados…) to their food is also right on point. I believe your comparison to say elephants is related to Jeff Novick’s position on the topic, which is something along the lines of: If you ate a whole plant food diet, you would be getting so many nutrients and in proportions that are what our bodies need, that we really don’t need to worry about absorbing every last phytonutrient.
          .
          But then I wonder, is that really a good position to take when we live in a such an artificial and contaminated world, eating artificial and contaminated food? Maybe an extra boost from absorbing yet more phytonutrients, or worrying about the best cooking method to get the most antioxidants as is done in this video, makes a lot of sense. And really, looking at elephants–how is that any different than looking at say cave humans? Our goal is to maximize health, not replicate the minimums needed to get by in “nature”.
          .
          That’s the pathways my brain takes every time I try to think through this issue. Depending on which day you ask me, I’ll either tell you that adding some nuts to a salad is a good idea, or that it is completely unnecessary. This is one area I don’t feel we have the best answers for yet. So, in my personal life, I split the difference. When I add a luscious nut-based sauce or dressing to my greens, I think, “Good for me for making sure I get all those phytonutrients.” And other times, when I use a very low fat sauce or just some seasonings, I think, “Good for me for eating low calorie density and a ballance more natural for my body.” How’s that for completely doing whatever I feel like at the moment?
          ——————-
          .
          PS: I currently review every single posting on NutritionFacts regardless of how old the video is. Due to the volume of posts, I have to quickly skim most posts. But if you start a post with “Thea…” as you did, I’m likely to see it. :-) Thanks for your nice feedback. I enjoyed reading your post.

  • rolandlim77@yahoo.com.sg

    Would appreciate your feedback on this article that says that microwaving food causes the formation of carcinogens and destroys the food nutrients during cooking. There’s also over 70 Years of German and Russian Research that point to microwave dangers. This goes against what you have stated in the video. Thank you!

    https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/are-microwaves-safe/

    • Thea

      rolandlim: That article looks like a bunch of milarky to me. For example, last I heard, any EMFs coming off microwaves disappear a foot out. How many people stand closer than 1 foot while a microwave is running? And I don’t think the EMFs from a microwave would be any different than the EMFs from any major appliance, including your printer. Just stay a foot away while it’s running if EMFs are of concern to you. Last time I looked into it (which was a while ago), EMFs were simply not known to be a health concern. I worry more about my cordless phone (which I use anyway) than the microwave.
      .
      To your point that there are 70 years of German and Russian research against microwaves, doesn’t it seem a little suspicious that this research is done in a language most of us can’t check up on? Or verify it’s credibility? If there are 70 years worth of credible research against the microwave, wouldn’t you expect at least *some* American and British scientists to want to follow through? After all, while it isn’t popular to big industry, we still get some a great research on plant based diets. I can’t imagine more pressures for micorwaves than there are for say beef.
      .
      Here’s an article about the safety of microwave ovens which makes a lot more sense to me than the one that your found. And this article includes references (in English) to back it up: http://www.drmyattswellnessclub.com/Microwave.htm Note: This website and author is not a source I normally trust, but no one is wrong about everything and this particular article is well documented.

  • Donna

    I have heard a lot about eating veggies raw. Not so much that you get more vitamins, but when you cook, you destroy the enzymes which help you use the vitamins which come in the veggie! Your body makes enzymes, but it needs those enzymes for every function in the body. It has to use those enzymes for metabolizing the vitamins from the cooked food, which causes a shortage, and brings on disease. By providing more enzymes, you help your body have enough so it won’t run short, and you will have better health! That’s as condensed as I can make it. There are lots of books written just about enzymes! Very important! Can you make it more clear, Dr. Greger?

  • Geoffrey Levens

    All bets are off though if you consume the cook water! That is what I do, use it as part of sauce by adding some herbs/spices and thickening w/ whatever my “ballast” is, beans, sweet potato, etc