Do Microwaves Actually Make Your Food Less Healthy?

The invention of the microwave is likely praised daily by us adults who don't feel like using what remaining slivers of energy we have left over at the end of the day to whip up a dinner from scratch — and don't forget about college students who are flexing their newly found freedom from living without their parents by eating yet another helping of Cup O' Noodles. Yes, the microwave is a genius, time-saving invention and is found in up to 90 percent of American households, claims Quartz. But before we head into our kitchens to zap last night's leftovers, is it possible we are making our dinner less healthy by reheating it in this go-to method?

You can put that thought to rest right away, and go ahead and press the start button. According to WebMD, if done correctly, cooking food in the microwave is one of the best ways to retain food's nutrients. If you use your microwave with a small amount of water to help steam your food from the inside, then it will retain more vitamins and minerals than with almost any other cooking method.

The best cooking method for retaining nutrients is one that cooks quickly

Catherine Adams Hutt, RD, Ph.D. registered dietician and certified food scientist, tells WebMD, "Whenever you cook food, you'll have some loss of nutrients," she says. "The best cooking method for retaining nutrients is one that cooks quickly, exposes food to heat for the smallest amount of time and uses only a minimal amount of liquid." And this is exactly what a microwave does.

There are a few downsides to using the microwave to cook or reheat food. Livestrong recommends making sure you are using a container that has been labeled as "microwave safe." If you choose to microwave your food in takeout containers or Tupperware made from thin plastic, then you are putting your food and self at risk. These unsafe containers can melt under the microwave's heat, and can also potentially contaminate the food it was holding with harmful chemicals.

Go ahead and continue to use your microwave, as it has most likely proven to be your best friend when exhausted or in a time-crunch. Just make sure your food is in a microwave-safe container, and enjoy your meal knowing you've done your best to retain its nutrients.