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Foods - fresh vs. frozen or canned

Alternative Names

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

Information

Vegatables are an important part of a well-balanced diet. 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 with vegetables that are lightly steamed.

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

References

Walker C. Diets for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: What Is the Evidence? Am Fam Phys. 01 Apr 2009;79(7):571-578.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005. 6th ed. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, January 2005.


Review Date: 11/1/2009
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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