I received the following email question about broccoli.  My response is below.   Chef James

Hi.  I recently attended a lecture that had some disturbing info to me.  They said that microwaving broccoli changes it in such a way that it can raise LDL cholesterol.
I have never heard of this and I regularly steam my fresh broccoli in a Tupperware microwave steamer.  Do you have any valid substantive information on this?
I am a librarian in California.  If these people are giving out incorrect information, I wish to challenge them with authoritative information.
Thanks, Linda     (October 26, 2011)

Here is my response to Linda:
Hello Linda,

Any scientific fact may be misused or misinterpreted to make a point.  Microwaved broccoli DOES NOT raise LDL cholesterol.

• Some antioxidants may help to lower LDL cholesterol levels.
• Some cooking methods are better than others at maintaining high levels of nutrients, including antioxidants.

ONE 2003 study at the University of Murcia in Spain found that Broccoli cooked in a microwave may lose 74% to 97% of SOME antioxidant compounds, whereas steamed broccoli loses only about 10%.

BOILING broccoli caused a 66% loss of antioxidants.  Almost as much as the microwaved broccoli!
No mention of HOW the microwaved broccoli was cooked. THIS IS A CRITICAL POINT.
The only published conclusion of the study is that steaming broccoli is the best way to cook it. 
But you can also steam broccoli (and many other foods) in the microwave!

This study DOES NOT say eating microwave broccoli will raise LDL cholesterol !

Even the microwaved broccoli in this study would lower your LDL cholesterol, just not as much as steamed broccoli.
The microwaved broccoli would NOT raise your LDL cholesterol levels!

Besides, as I noted above, broccoli can be steamed in a microwave, and that is the method you used. Problem solved, if there really was any problem to begin with.

Finally, Broccoli is not the only source of antioxidants.

Thank you for using
Chef James


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