Sunday, January 20, 2013

Choose your veggies wisely

I had a friend ask me to write about the different forms of veggies you can buy (fresh vs. frozen vs. canned). So I wanted to chat about the health benefits of each.

Here is the scoop on each:

I think most people would assume that fresh veggies are the most healthy choice, however that is not always the case. You need to keep in mind that once the vegetable or fruit is picked it immediately starts to lose its nutritional value. The longer it travels or sits on the shelf, the less nutrients you are going to get from it. Buying locally and in season fruits and veggies are your best bet.

Frozen veggies are surprisingly very healthy. When they are picked they are immediately flash frozen, holding in all of the nutrients.  Therefore it does not matter how long these sit in the freezer, they will always have their full nutritional value.

Canned veggies can be deceiving, many of them are packed with added salt (and fruits with added sugar). So you may not even realize that you are adding calories and decreasing the benefits of them.  If you do buy canned veggies or fruits, be sure to check the label and make sure the only ingredients are the veg/fruit and water.

You also need to consider how you will be using them when you buy them. If you will be cooking them, canned or frozen would be best and cheaper than buying fresh. However if you will be eating them raw, fresh would be better choice.

Keep in mind that however you decide to cook these veggies will affect the nutritional value. Have you ever noticed that when you boil your vegetables the water turns green or orange? Well that is all the nutrients leaking out into the water, and chances are you aren’t going to drink that. So when you cook frozen veggies use the microwave with a small amount of water to avoid this. Or use as little water as possible when boiling, and be sure not to overcook them. If possible steam them, as this holds in the most nutrients.

Stay tuned folks, next I’ll be chatting about organic vs non organic, and which vegetables and fruits should always be bought organic.

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