Fruits and vegetables are an essential component to a healthy diet. They provide many necessary vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health. Most fruits and vegetables are also naturally low in calories and filling, making them an essential part of every meal. While fresh vegetables have long been held as the superior variety, research has begun to show that the nutritional difference between fresh and canned fruits and vegetables are not all that different.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables that are destined to be shipped to fresh-produce sections around the country are typically picked before they reach their peak ripeness. While this gives them time to get to the consumers kitchen before ripening fully, it also gives them less time to develop a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Additionally, as soon as produce is picked, it naturally starts to decay. Each vitamin and mineral possesses their own sensitivities to different storage and processing environments, however as a general rule, fresh fruits and vegetables will lose nutrients up until they are eaten. Accordingly, fresh, local produce, eaten soon after harvest, and properly stored at cool temperatures between harvest and consumption are ideal for maximum nutrient content.
One of the biggest pros to eating fresh produce is that it is completely natural. There are no added sugars, no preservatives and no hidden salts. A fresh apple is a fresh apple. In addition, most fresh produce packs significantly greater amounts of fiber than canned or frozen varieties, keeping you full and providing many other digestive health benefits.
Canned Fruits and Vegetables
While the taste and texture of canned produce may not compare to its fresh counterparts, they will actually still provide many of the same nutrients and minerals. Produce destined to be canned is processed immediately after harvesting, minimizing the time for initial nutrient losses. The heating process during canning can destroy anywhere from one-third to one-half of certain vitamins and minerals. However, once canned, additional losses of these sensitive vitamins are significantly less. Therefore, produce handled properly and canned promptly after harvest can be just as nutritious as fresh produce that has been held many days after harvest.
When stocking up on canned produce, watch for sodium and added sugar. Often times, sodium is added to canned goods to help preserve them. Look for low-sodium, reduced-sodium or no-salt-added labeled cans. Additionally, you can drain and rinse canned veggies to reduce the sodium content even more. For fruits, opt for those canned in water over juices or syrups, as these have significantly higher amounts of added sugar.
Much research has pointed to the fact that many Americans are not meeting their daily recommended intake for fruits and vegetables. Canned items may be a convenient way to keep fruits and vegetables stocked in your pantry for the times that you can't get to the store. Additionally, since they are non-perishable, you won't waste money by having to throw them away when they go bad, which sometimes can happen with fresh produce. The bottom line in this debate still remains that it is crucial to consume a variety of daily fruits and vegetables. Whether this is achieved through canned varieties or fresh is of secondary importance to making sure you meet your fruit and vegetable intake each and every day.
Sarah Dreifke is a freelance writer based in DeKalb, IL with a passion for nutrition education and the prevention of chronic disease. She holds a Bachelor of Science in both Dietetics and Life Sciences Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, she is working towards a combined Master's Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics as well as a dietetic internship at Northern Illinois University.
Eating is something us as humans do everyday. We live in a world where it is important to eat. We choose what we are going to eat, and what we eat affects our bodies. The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast the differences between eating fresh foods instead of canned foods. The main differences between both are flavor, health benefits, cost, accessibility.
The differences between these two kinds of foods are their flavor. Fresh foods have that great flavor and taste because they keep all their natural conditions, where as canned foods lack of its flavor because of their chemical processes that are added to the natural foods. It is known that the fresh foods will have a great taste and flavor when consumed because of the time in which they have been prepared. Most canned foods are now available in low-salt, no-salt, low-sugar, and no-sugar preparations for those with special dietary needs or for those who want more of a natural flavor. It’s also a way to have a similar taste of fresh foods.
Many doctors say that eating fresh foods are the best, followed by frozen, and then canned foods. Canned foods are last because of the heat involved in the processing process. Canned foods lose some of the original fresh food nutrients when stored, and also be tinned with many chemical factors that prolong the shelf life and apparent freshness of the food but could also become toxic if consumed too much. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans show that individuals eating diets higher in fresh foods have a lower risk of chronic disease.
Another difference is that fresh food provides all the fiber, vitamins and minerals that are needed for your body to function normal. Fresh foods in grocery stores are picked before being fully ripened so that it will stay firm during its shipment. With canned foods, they are often left to fully ripen before harvesting, resulting in a higher nutritional value of the ripe produce before canning, however since this process method involves lots of process, some nutrients, such as vitamins B and C go down and the relative levels decrease resulting in having lots of sodium.
Canned foods have more of sodium adding to them than fresh food. Too much sodium in the diet contributes to increased blood pressure, a risk factor that could lead to lots of chronic conditions. Fresh foods have almost no sodium in them because they don’t get processed the way can foods do. There are thousands of canned food products that are available in every state, lending convenience to those with a very busy lifestyle. The sodium content in commercially canned foods has been significantly reduced, up to 40% over old canning methods.
After talking about the three differences between buying fresh foods and buying canned foods. In the end, it comes down to a your personal choice, based on the time each person has, amount of money he/she has to spend on food. Therefore it is important that you consider your possibilities and chooses the best type of foods for your lifestyle. But, of course, fresh foods straight from the garden or farm will always remain the healthiest and have the most nutrition. But for those we don’t have time to grow and produce fresh fruits and vegetables, canned products may be worth considering.