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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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GO foods give us the energy to be active, work, and fight diseases.
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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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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