A popular way to cook broccoli removes nutrients that could help fight cancer — here’s what to do instead

Consider how you cook these vitamin-packed heads of broccoli. Getty Images

If you’re like me, your go-to way to cook broccoli is to pop it into a pot of boiling water.

But there is a big drawback to that approach: Boiling broccoli can remove a lot of the essential nutrients that make the vegetable worth eating in the first place, including loads of B vitamins and vitamin C.

Even glucosinolates, proteins that potentially fight cancer,
break down when they’re overcooked in boiling water.

To figure out a better way, Business Insider spoke with Dan Souza, the executive editor of “Cook’s Science” at America’s Test Kitchen and one of the authors of “The Science of Good Cooking.”

He suggests putting your broccoli in the microwave instead. That doesn’t mean just plopping it on a plate and throwing it in there, though.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Fill a large glass bowl with broccoli.
  2. Add about a tablespoon of water to the bowl.
  3. Cover the bowl with a plate.
  4. Microwave the bowl on high for a few minutes.
  5. Enjoy!

“You’re essentially steaming it inside there,” Souza said. “There’s really no place for nutrients to go. it stays in the vegetable.”

Steaming is a great alternative to boiling vegetables. A November 2015 study evaluated different cooking methods for vegetables, including broccoli, and concluded that steaming is the best way to preserve and enhance the nutrition in fresh broccoli.

But the microwave method is better than steaming the veggies over boiling water, Souza said, because it’s still possible for some of the nutrients to leach into the water.

Plus, it’s much quicker to microwave the broccoli than wait for a pot of water to boil on the stove.

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