Do frozen and canned vegetables have less nutrition than fresh vegetables?

Rising prices are also increasing the prices of vegetables and fruits, which are the ingredients of our daily meals. However, vegetables and fruits are rich in nutrients, and we want to consume them as much as possible to live a healthy life. Nutritionist Evangeline Mantziolis, director of the Nutrition and Food Science Program at the University of South Australia, explains the nutritional value and uses of frozen and canned vegetables and fruits.

Cost of living: If you can't afford as much fresh produce, are canned veggies or frozen fruit just as good?

According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australians' consumption of fruits and vegetables is decreasing from 2022 to 2023 compared to the previous year. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that people aged 9 and over consume two types of fruit and five types of vegetables daily, but as of 2022, only 4% of Australians were meeting the recommended intake.

The decline in intake is due to the rising cost of living. Mantziolis points out that Australia's consumer price index has been rising every year, making it difficult to buy fresh vegetables and fruit, which is leading to a deterioration in Australian lifestyles.

But even if you can't buy fresh produce, Mantziolis says you can still get nutrition from frozen and canned foods.

・Frozen vegetables and fruits
Frozen vegetables and fruits are quick-frozen immediately after harvest, so they contain more nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin E. They also contain the same amounts of minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium compared to fresh vegetables and fruits, Mantziolis said.

The advantage of freezing vegetables and fruit is that you can use only what you need, reducing food waste. Frozen vegetables aren't suitable for salads, but they can be roasted or steamed, or used in soups, stews, curries and pies, and frozen fruit can be used in breakfast dishes and cakes.

Canned vegetables and fruits
Canned vegetables and fruits are also a cheap alternative to fresh produce and can be kept at room temperature. Canning was originally developed as a preservation technique, so there is no need to add salt or other preservatives.

However, during the cooking process, heat-sensitive nutrients such as vitamin C are slightly reduced compared to fresh vegetables. If you are using canned vegetables in a hot dish, adding them at the end of the cooking process can help reduce nutrient loss. To minimize waste, you can also freeze any leftovers.

Fermented foods
Fermentation has gotten a lot of attention in recent years, but it's actually one of the oldest food processing and preservation techniques. Fermentation preserves most of the vitamins and minerals found in fresh vegetables. At the same time, fermentation can increase the nutritional value of a dish by creating new nutrients or making existing nutrients easier to absorb. What's more, fermented foods contain probiotics that are beneficial for your gut bacteria, Mantziolis points out.

Finally, Mantziolis offers five ways to incorporate fresh ingredients into your cooking on a budget:

1. Buy what's in season
2. Don't avoid unattractive fruits and vegetables
3. Reduce waste
4. Exchange and share ingredients
5. Grow your own vegetables in the garden

in Junk Food, Posted by log1i_yk