Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fresh or Frozen?

The Canadian Food Guide recommends that we consume between 4 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. One medium fruit or half a cup of fresh, frozen or canned vegetables is considered to be one Food Guide Serving.

During the winter months, it is hard to find fresh fruits and vegetables that have been picked from a garden close by. We have become accustomed to eating fruits and vegetables when they are not in season.

So when buying fruits and vegetables, which choice is better in terms of nutritional value: fresh, frozen or canned?
Fresh fruits and vegetables that are transported from far away places are usually picked before they are ripe. They tend to lose their nutrients as they are transported, unpacked and placed on store shelves before you purchase them. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables which are frozen are usually picked when they are ripe, then frozen immediately, preserving their nutrients.

So which is really best?
According to Alberta Health Services, in addition to research conducted at the University of California Davis, both fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables are nutritious. These studies make the following  recommendations:
  • When eating fresh, make sure that produce is in season; in the off-season, go for frozen or canned fruits and veggies. 
  • When choosing frozen or canned fruits, make sure that there is no added syrup or sugar. 
  • When selecting frozen or canned vegetables, try to avoid added salt. It is also a good idea to rinse canned vegetables very well before consumption.
Eating canned or frozen fruits and vegetables can be as good, or sometimes better than, fresh depending on the season and how long fresh produce has been exposed to the sun and air. The bottom line is that to get the recommended 4 to 10 daily servings of fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables should all be considered as healthy options.

References from the SIRC Collection:

1. Edwards J, Hartwell H. Fruit and vegetables – attitudes and knowledge of primary school children. Journal Of Human Nutrition & Dietetics. October 2002;15(5):365-374. Accessed February 17, 2014.
2. Frozen Fruits and Vegetables at Least as Nutritious as Fresh. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter. April 2013;31(2):7.
3. Goldman D. Fruits & Vegetables. Women's Basketball. June 2007;7(3):10-11.
How canned fruits and vegetables stack up. Tufts University Diet & Nutrition Letter. November 1996;14(9):1.
4. Howkins M. a fresh perspective. Health (Time Inc. Health). September 2002;16(7):182.
5. Paisley J, Skrzypczyk S. Qualitative Investigation of Differences in Benefits and Challenges of Eating Fruits versus Vegetables as Perceived by Canadian Women. Journal Of Nutrition Education & Behavior.

1 comment:

diana jane cervantes said...

Thanks for sharing this article, now I know the difference of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. Good to hear that we got complete nutrients on frozen and canned fruits and veggies.