Eating a lot of vegetables is considered to be a good habit by various people. Also, those, who want to lose some weight or simply feel fit, tend to consume different vegetables and fruits. There are different vegetables available in the market and at home. Fresh vegetables require more time or finances to get. Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are a convenience solution for many of us. It’s ready to cook, requires zero preparation and saves chopping time, but when nutrition is a factor in your deciding process, the question to ask is, “what will benefit your health best: frozen, canned or fresh vegetables or fruits?”
How are frozen and canned vegetables preserved?
Frozen vegetables or fruits are going through a blanching process during preservation and storage to prevent any unwanted natural changes like a color loss, flavor, texture and nutrient density. Blanching is a method in which vegetables are boiled and steamed, food enzymes killed, and the final result is longer life shelf. During this process, amounts of carbohydrate, fat, and water-soluble protein in certain vegetables will be reduced.
The effect of blanching on fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K are low, water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and B are lost in the process, as well as thiamine and ascorbic acid, which you can find in melons, cantaloupes, kiwis, guavas, raspberries, and strawberries. Minerals, on the other hand, are found to have a high percentage (78% to 91%) of remaining after the blanching process.
At the same time, even fresh vegetables are not the “perfect” choice unless you shop local, seasonal, native production straight from a farmer. By that time, foods are picked and reach your plate within 5-10 days, 10-50% of the nutrients are lost.
Sodium is if often added to canned foods (like beans) and frozen foods, which will affect our health as well, so you want to read labels and buy free sodium solution.
Ideally, if you could choose your vegetables and fruits fresh, local, seasonal, non-GMO and organic just close to harvest time, you could get the highest levels of nutrients to support optimum health and wellness. Though, most of us need to compromise. If that is the case and you buy frozen fruits and vegetables, please look for a “Non-GMO,” “USDA,” or “CCOF” stamped product so you could enjoy the highest standard and the one most likely to deliver the most nutrients for you.