The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says ‘no matter what form they take — fresh, frozen, canned or dried — fruits and vegetables are good-for-you foods that can be enjoyed at any time.’ There are several things to consider when you are trying to decide which form you want to purchase.
Vegetables and fruits are an important part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. They are low in fat and calories, contain no cholesterol and are rich in vitamins like A and C, and minerals and fibre. But exactly what forms of vegetables are best? Are there more vitamins in fresh, canned or frozen vegetables?
Here are ideas for getting the most from your fruits and vegetables, no matter what form they take.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
The season and availability determines the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables in a specific area. Most of the times, they are transported from far distances to land in the produce section of your grocery stores.
While transportation, these fruits and vegetables are exposed to extreme temperatures which lead them to release important nutrients like vitamin A and C that they contain.
A lot of fresh produce is shipped to far distances before they ripe properly. This doesn’t give the vitamins and nutrients a chance to fully develop within the fruit.
So, try and grow fruits and vegetables in your kitchen garden so that you can reap the desired benefits. If that’s not possible, try and get the produce that has been transported from your nearest harvest.
Canned Fruits and Vegetables
Read the label of canned fruits and vegetables and choose to buy the ones whose descriptions say 'packed in its own juices,' 'packed in fruit juice,' 'unsweetened' or no added sugar.’ These produces have fewer calories than the fruits and vegetables packed in syrup.
When you want to cut out on sodium intake, look for products whose labels say "no salt added" and "reduced sodium."
For maximum flavour and nutritional value, canned fruits and vegetables should be immediately consumed after opening the lid.
Frozen Varieties of Fruits and Vegetables
When buying frozen fruits and vegetables, control fat and calories intake by choosing plain produce or that made with low-fat sauces.
Sweetened and unsweetened varieties of fruits are available in the market, so make it a point to choose the ones with the label that says ‘unsweetened fruit.’
All of us are fond of frozen fruit bars which again are a very good and tasty option for getting the nutrition of fruits. But buy only the ones that are made of real fruit juice.
A study out of the University of Georgia confirms that fresh isn't always best regarding vitamin and mineral content. The study investigated the amount of vitamins and minerals in these eight fruits and vegetables: cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, green peas, spinach, corn, blueberries and strawberries.
Researchers compared the nutrient content of the produce on the date it was purchased, five days after refrigeration, and after being frozen. Analysis revealed that some of the frozen produce actually had higher amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A and folate than their fresh stored counterparts. Previous studies have found similar results.
So, don't worry so much about which form of produce is the best and focus more on trying to get more fruits and vegetables overall in your diet. Relying on a combination of fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables can help ensure you're meeting the recommended number of servings each day.
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