Day 21 of our 30-day nutrition challenge is to increase awareness that tinned and frozen vegetables and fruit can be just as good as fresh. Try adding one type of frozen vegetable or tinned fruit into your diet today and you might notice:
- Cheaper food bill
- Less food waste
- Quicker meal preparation time
- More nutrient dense vegetables and fruit than the wilting ones in the fridge or fruit bowl
What would happen if you cut our fresh veg and fruit and ate only tinned? There’s an interesting article from someone who did just that for a week. Have a read here.
We all know about 5-a-day (and you’ll know a lot more if you’ve read Day 2 Nutrition Challenge). There’s the undeniable reduction in risk of some cancers, heart disease, and Diabetes type-2, but there’s also the new one about vegetables and fruit helping to support immunity, and it’s not vitamin C we’re talking about here – it’s the fibre which helps to feed the good bacteria (immune cells) in your gut. So yes, we’d like you to eat more than 5-a-day but I think we need to dispel some myths to help you get to that magic number.
80g (size of a clenched fist) is the suggested serving size of 1-a-day, and that also counts for tinned fruit or vegetables. Choose where you can to have tinned food in its own juice or water rather than syrup. Also check if salt has been added – it’s often used in processed foods to enhance flavour.
As part of the process, tinned food is heated to high temperatures. Although it appears tinned fish like salmon is perfectly OK and a good source of protein and omega-3, and beans and pulses are OK, some food may have had its nutrients reduced as a result of heating during the tinned process, particularly the water soluble vitamins.
Fresh vegetables and fruit are often picked before peak ripeness, allowing then to ripen during transportation. Frozen on the other hand are picked nearer peak ripeness when they are most nutritious before being frozen.
Chemicals may also be added to fresh produce to help prolong the product life during transportation whereas frozen produce may rarely treated with chemicals to prolong its life.
However, often frozen vegetables are blanched (placed in hot water) before freezing to kill harmful bacteria. The blanching may reduce some of the nutrients.
A study of eight fruit and vegetables (corn, carrots, broccoli, spinach, peas, green beans, strawberries, blueberries) looked at the difference in nutrient value (ascorbic acid, riboflavin, alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene) between fresh and frozen. Ascorbic acid was unchanged in 5/8 but was higher in 3/8 frozen compared to fresh items. Apart from peas which were lower in frozen than fresh and broccoli which was higher in frozen all others had same riboflavin. Alpha-tocopherol was higher in 3/8 frozen and beta-carotene was lower in frozen peas, carrots, spinach. Really there wasn’t much in it.
If you’d like to find out more tips to improve your health, check out our webinars and our Bitesize Nutrition podcasts. If you’re new to podcasts you can listen free without registration on your phone or PC by clicking on the podcast link in this paragraph. Or you can listen to Bitesize Nutrition on iTunes & Spotify.
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- The information in this article is for educational purposes and should not replace medical advice.
- The information is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition.
- If you have a diagnosed medical condition, you should consult a doctor before making any major changes to your diet, and;
- Some supplements may interact with medications and you should check with your GP before commencing any supplement programme.