Scientists Agree—This Is the Healthiest Way to Cook Vegetables

If you've ever felt guilty for cooking food in the microwave rather than the oven or stovetop, a new study suggests this seemingly lazy method has serious merit. Despite popular misconceptions, Real Simple suggests that zapping your vegetables in the microwave could actually preserve the nutrients, which are often lost when overcooked. 

Here's why: The National Brassica Survey found broccoli should be cooked for three to five minutes to maintain vital nutrients. The problem is that most Americans cook broccoli for about 10 minutes, via the traditional stovetop method, thereby destroying a powerful antioxidant called glucoraphanin. Yes, overcooking your greens could cancel out a lot of the goodness.

So, what's the best way to cook vegetables to perfection? The microwave. Unlike an oven, microwaves heat food molecules, rather than the air around it. They allow you to cook food in a shorter amount of time, at a relatively low heat, and without large amounts of water—all factors that help preserve nutrients. In fact, a Harvard Medical School report sets the record straight, saying that microwaving "keeps more vitamins and minerals than almost any other cooking method." Busy women, rejoice. 

Ready to switch up your cooking methods? Try tossing broccoli florets into a microwave-safe dish with two to three tablespoons of water and cook on high for up to five minutes for best results.