Frozen v Fresh – the debate

Tinned, frozen or fresh?

There have been dozens of studies which suggest that tinned and frozen foods are just as good for us as fresh.

Now fresh fruits and vegetables are completely natural and have the highest quantities of vitamins and minerals when first picked. People also tend to prefer the taste and texture of fresh produce.

But fresh fruits and vegetables lose nutrients from the moment they are picked until they are eaten and storing fresh produce is also very difficult if they are of a variety that will perish quickly.

If a fruit or vegetable is canned or frozen soon after picking then they can actually contain higher levels of nutrients than fresh fruit and vegetables brought from a grocery store. They are also very convenient because they are available throughout the year regardless of the season. Canned produce will last for many months or years without the need for refrigeration.

Be wary of some tinned products though and check the labeling. The nutritional value of the fruit and vegetable they contain should be exactly the same as fresh but sometimes they are very high in sodium or sugar used to preserve them.

Some canned fruits have also added sugar or syrup which can lessen the health benefits.

I would opt for frozen over canned if I couldn’t get fresh.

To cook or not to cook?

Eating your fruit and vegetables raw is sometimes the healthier option. After all, some vitamins are sensitive to heat. Cooking tomatoes for just two minutes for example decreases their vitamin C content by 10%.

Having said this there are some vegetables which offer useful health benefits when they’re cooked including carrots and asparagus. Cooking makes it easier for our bodies to benefit from some of their protective antioxidants, specifically ferulic acid from asparagus, and beta-carotene, which we convert to vitamin A, from carrots.

Other veg – including broccoli and watercress – is more beneficial eaten raw.

When these are heated an important enzyme is damaged, which means the potency of helpful anti-cancer compounds called glucosinolates, is reduced.

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