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Foods - fresh vs. frozen or canned


Alternative names

Frozen foods vs. fresh or canned; Fresh foods vs. frozen or canned

Information

Many people wonder if frozen and canned vegetables are as nutritious as fresh vegetables. The answer to this question depends on both the time between the harvesting of the vegetable and the canning and freezing process. Generally, vegetables are canned or frozen immediately upon harvest when their nutrient content is at its peak.

The way vegetables are prepared at home can also affect the nutrient content. Vegetables of any type (fresh, frozen, or canned) that are boiled in large amounts of water for long periods of time lose much of their nutritional content compared to vegetables that are lightly steamed.

To be more specific, therefore, vegetables that are fresh from the farm or just picked are more nutritious than their frozen or canned counterparts. However, frozen and canned vegetables are an acceptable nutritional alternative. Just be careful of the amount of salt added to canned vegetables; try to buy those without added salt. And, don't overcook any vegetables.

Update Date: 1/17/2004

Jacqueline A. Hart, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Newton, Ma., and Senior Medical Editor, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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