Vegetables – Canned, Frozen or Fresh? What REALLY is the best to eat?
Whether they are canned, frozen or fresh I can’t stress enough the importance of eating vegetables. People should, recognize that incorporating vegetables into your daily diet is essential to improving ones overall health. However, this is not the case. Some people don’t know how they can benefit from daily consumption of vegetables or what vegetables to eat to target different areas of the body. Since deciding to make a conscience healthy life style change, I am becoming more familiar with ways to integrate more and more vegetables in my diet. My goal is that, after reading this you too, will understand how important vegetables are, start incorporating them into your health regimen and understand the health differences between canned, frozen, and fresh.
Pros: One of the best things about canned vegetables is its prolonged existence. When stored properly, canned vegetables have a shelf life/life span of 1-2 years past their “best before date” if unopened. That’s incredible and if you were to factor in unexpected weather, family trips or financial hardship canned vegetables are a life saver. In addition to its long shelf life, canned vegetables are cost efficient. I tend to buy the store brand version, because my dollar can go further. I can buy a can of sweet peas, kidney beans or corn for .58 cents. The fact that canned vegetables are inexpensive and can be used for longer periods of time is a working mother’s dream.
Cons: Not encouraging to a healthy diet. Canned vegetables are able to last so long because of the preservatives within. Also, most contain high levels of sodium which makes it unacceptable for those who are on a no salt diet or suffering from diabetes or low and high blood pressure. In addition to diet, they tend to have very low nutrient counts. Some vegetables are cooked before they’re canned, which is the cause of the loss of nutritional value. So be very wise when choosing the canned vegetables you serve your loved ones.
Pros: Frozen vegetables are fast and easy. There are even some you can place in the microwave for 1-2 mins and steam in the bag. SUPER COOL!!!! There are plenty of frozen vegetable options, just check out your local grocery store. Frozen veggies are versatile. When snow peas are out of season, you’ll be able to enjoy them almost year around. Unopened frozen vegetables can last for 8-10 months. Green Giant and Birds Eye are just few of the various companies who offer steamed in the bag, boxed and bagged frozen veggies. In addition to being fast and easy, frozen vegetables have enzymes. These enzymes help to naturally ripen vegetables, which assist with the taste, smell, texture and nutrients.
Cons: Just like canned vegetable, before freezing, the veggies have to go through processing and use preservatives. During this process they too, lose a lot of valuable nutrients. They release large amounts of vitamin B and C, which has to be artificially added making them NOT 100% fresh and/or original. Another downside to frozen veggies is they may cause allergies, ulcers, and other medical issues.
Pros: The benefits of fresh vegetables over canned or frozen are vast in number. For starters the taste! There is nothing more awesome than biting into a fresh ripened strawberry or fresh corn on the cob; you will not be able to have the same pleasure or joy eating the others. Fresh vegetables are low in calories, this benefits everyone. If you’re trying to lose weight, maintain it or concerned about healthy eating overall, you can fill up on these bad boys and barely place a dent in your caloric goal intake. Finally, fresh vegetables have higher levels or vitamins and minerals essential to your overall health. This is a very good thing.
Cons: Unlike frozen or canned vegetables, fresh vegetables do not carry a long shelf life. Usually, when I purchase bananas or other veggies I have to consume it within the week. This is not cost effective and has the tendency to waste money. Because fresh veggies tend to be a little more expensive than its counterparts you will need to be strategic in your purchases. Lastly, different vegetables can cause your blood sugar to spike. “Starchy vegetables, such as white and sweet potatoes, release large amounts of sugar when digested in your small intestine. These vegetables have a high glycemic index, meaning they are likely to cause a significant uptick in your blood sugar level after eating” (Andrews, 2010).
Whether it’s canned, frozen or fresh there advantages and disadvantages to vegetables. However, vegetables provide us with natural dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients. Vegetables are absolutely necessary for a healthy lifestyle and diet. We should strive to consume two or more cups of veggies daily. I hope this write up inspired you to go out and learn more about the importance of vegetables and the differences between them.