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Frozen, fresh or canned food: What's more nutritious?

Refrigerating produce

Refrigerating produce

Refrigeration slows down the process of nutrition degradation. The nutritional loss varies from product to product.

Spinach loses 100% of its vitamin C content in seven days at room temperature and 75% if refrigerated. Carrots lose 27% of their vitamin C content when stored at room temperature for a week.

However, when vegetables are frozen, including spinach, they lose significantly less vitamin C, because freezing pauses the process of oxidization.

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Frozen, fresh or canned food: What's more nutritious?

Frozen, fresh or canned food: What's more nutritious?

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200427-frozen-fresh-or-canned-food-whats-more-nutritious

bbc.com

4

Key Ideas

Fresh food nutrients

Food is most nutritious at the point of harvest. After that, fresh produce starts degrading.

Once picked, that fruit or veg is using its own nutrients to keep its cells alive. Vitamin C found in produce is also sensitive to oxygen and light.

Refrigerating produce

Refrigeration slows down the process of nutrition degradation. The nutritional loss varies from product to product.

Spinach loses 100% of its vitamin C content in seven days at room temperature and 75% if refrigerated. Carrots lose 27% of their vitamin C content when stored at room temperature for a week.

However, when vegetables are frozen, including spinach, they lose significantly less vitamin C, because freezing pauses the process of oxidization.

Frozen foods nutrients

As soon as produce is harvested, it's a nutritional race against time.

Frozen produce has one problem: before it's frozen, it's blanched - heating food up for a few minutes at high temperatures to inactivate enzymes that degrade texture and color. Blanching also reduces nutrient content.

Canned foods

Tinned food uses a more intense heat treatment that decreases the nutrients more than frozen food. But nutrients in different kinds of produce degrade at different rates.

  • Foods with mostly water-soluble nutrients, including Vitamin C and B, are highly sensitive to heat and are better fresh.
  • Foods with mostly fat-soluble nutrients, like vitamin E and A, faired much better during heat treatment. Foods include carrots and tomatoes.

Although canned foods result in greater nutrient loss, it can be stable for years.

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From this category: rice, pasta, bread, and root crops. They release energy more slowly, fuelling you for longer and helping to maintain your weight.

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Grow foods help our body with physical growth and help the body rebuild after diseases and infections.
From this category: meat, fish, eggs, milk and other dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. They are often required in small amounts but are essential to be consumed daily.

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Best foods don’t have labels
Best foods don’t have labels

Because they are just one ingredient: avocado, lentils, blueberries, broccoli, almonds, etc.

There is no "best diet"

The “best” diet is a theme: an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and plain water for thirst. 

That can be with or without seafood; with or without dairy; with or without eggs; with or without some meat; high or low in total fat.

The "Age" of vegetables
The best vegetables are likely to be fresh and locally sourced, but flash frozen is nearly as good (as freezing delays aging). Those “fresh” vegetables that spend a long time in storage or transit are probably the least nutritious.

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Food cravings

They are an intense desire for a specific food. This desire can seem uncontrollable, and the person's hunger may not be satisfied until they get that particular food. We usually feel cr...

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  • An imbalance or changes in hormones
  • Emotional issues (eating for comfort)
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Dehydration 
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  • Lower stress levels: stress promotes cravings for comfort foods.
  • Drink plenty of water: Dehydration manifests itself as hunger, so when you get a craving, drink water.
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  • Eat enough protein.
  • Avoid hunger: under-eating can make food cravings worse.
Superfoods

The selling point of superfoods is not so much their taste but the extent to which they will enhance your health if you eat them. It is not qualities that are mere add-ons, like fortified cereals, ...

Labeled as superfoods

Some regular foodstuffs such as broccoli and spinach have been rebranded for their health-giving qualities. 

The volume of blueberries and cranberries sold in Britain quadrupled in the last decade, for example. However, critics warn that the description encourages us to focus on a single foodstuff at the expense of a healthy diet.

Food and medicine

Cooks in the past have often doubled as herbalists who sought to soothe and strengthen. Long before "superfoods," we consumed tonics and home remedies. For example, sage was believed to improve a person's memory. Science later confirmed its memory benefits.

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Organic junk food is still junk food
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From a macronutrient perspective, organic junk foods are often identical to their conventional counterparts. 

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Organic isn't always healthy

Many organic brands tend to cater to a health-conscious crowd, meaning they’ll often use less processing or healthier ingredients to appeal to their consumers. But the organic label alone does not guarantee this.

The “health halo” effect
It refers to a scientifically researched phenomenon in which certain claims, such as “low fat” or “made with organic ingredients” can lead us to assume a food is healthier or lower in calories. 

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The Expiration Date
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Flour And Nuts
  • White Flour lasts quite long but whole-wheat and whole-grain flour start going bad after a few months. Anything refined and ‘white’ lasts longer than anything unpolished and brown. This is due to the presence of fats in anything which is unrefined.
  • Tree nuts can go bad in a few months if not stored in a freezer.

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The Paleo Diet
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A general guideline

There is no one "right" way to eat for everyone.

Some eat a low-carb diet high in animal foods, while others follow a high-carb diet with lots of plants.

Avoid these foods and ingredients:

  • Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
  • All Grains.
  • Legumes like beans and lentils.
  • Most Dairy, especially low-fat dairy.
  • Some vegetable oils like soybean, sunflower, cottonseed, corn, grapeseed, safflower and other oils.
  • Trans fats: "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oils found in margarine and various processed foods.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, saccharin, acesulfame potassium. 
  • Highly processed foods: Everything labeled "diet" or "low-fat" or that has many additives.

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Complex Carbohydrates

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Antioxidants

Our cells generate energy through oxidation, but oxidation also reduces the dopamine and serotonin in the brain and creates oxidative stress.

Antioxidants found in brightly colored foods like fruits and vegetables act as a defense against oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain and body. Antioxidants also repair oxidative damage and scavenge free radicals that cause cell damage in the brain. 

Omega 3

Omega 3 are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are involved in the process of converting food into energy. They are important for the health of the brain and the communication of its feel-good chemicals dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.

Omega 3 are essential nutrients that are not readily produced by the body, so we must include foods high on it in our diet. 

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Quality and price

A higher price doesn’t really mean higher quality.

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Organic food and the environment
Organic products are not necessarily better for the environment.

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Organic vs. conventional foods

Any additional nutritional benefits from organic foods, compared with conventional, are very small.

Ultimately, if you want more nutrients, eat more vegetables, organic or not.