Which Is Healthier, Fresh, Canned, Dried Or Frozen Food?

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With such a wide variety to choose from, incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet has never been easier. However, not every option is as healthy as it seems. Whether you’re buying fresh fruit from a farmers market or preserved vegetables from a corner store, it’s important to understand the nutritional differences of your choice.

 

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables contain higher amounts of nutrients than frozen or canned and should almost always be your first choice. When the season for your favorite local produce is over, you might be able to find imported products—but these will rarely ever taste as good as what’s local and in season.

Imported vegetables and fruits are harvested raw, expected to ripen during their long journey to supermarkets around the globe. Sometimes treated with chemicals or stored in refrigerators for months at a time, they lose some of their natural nutrients and flavors before making it to the market—just another reason to shop local when you can.

 frozen fruit

Frozen vs. Canned

In general, frozen vegetables are better than canned. Fresh vegetables are blanched before freezing, and they do lose some nutrients but not a lot. Produce frozen right at its peak has more nutrients than produce that is picked too early, held, and shipped for thousands of miles. Freezing is also the best way to preserve produce from your own garden. Canned vegetables are cooked more than frozen since manufacturers need to ensure there is no bacterial growth inside the can. The extra cooking destroys nutrients. On the other hand, canned versions are budget-friendly and long-lasting, and are ideal for when you don’t have time to buy, scrub, trim and chop fresh veggies. 

Both frozen and canned vegetables are often packaged immediately after being picked. This is when they have their peak levels of nutrients.  If you are watching your diet, always check the food labels/nutrition facts before buying. Sometimes canned fruits and vegetables have added sugar or salt. Look for items that say “no salt added”, “sodium free”, or “packed in own juice.”  You can also rinse them to remove added sugar or salt.

 

Dried

Many dried fruits are covered with sugar to help the preservation process and improve sweetness. Those without added sugar remain calorie-dense because although they’re smaller in size the content is the same. Be mindful of portion sizes as the lighter volume may cause you to eat more in a sitting. Dried vegetables also maintain more vitamins and minerals than canned or frozen versions. Yet, the exposure to heat and air can destroy vitamins A and C.

 

When it comes to eating fruits and vegetables, there is no bad choice. Eating any fruit or vegetable is making a positive choice for health.

 frozen food

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