To fill up on vitamins, should we forget about canned and frozen foods? We investigated.
Fresh vegetables: freshness above all!
It is rare that between fresh spinach and frozen spinach the heart swings. Fresh, it’s so much more delicious! But what if these same spinach have already been hanging around for a week on the stalls of the fruit and vegetables? When we know that their vitamin C will have almost disappeared after three days, we will think twice before slipping them into our shopping bag.
As for the other vegetables? Typically, they lose about 50% of their vitamin C after three days in the open air. When stored for a week in the fridge, it’s also 50% less vitamin C. The precious vitamin B9 (found in spinach but also in other leafy vegetables), it is also particularly fragile in light, time and cooking.
Nothing beats vegetables picked and eaten the same day.
The tip to know if the vegetables are fresh?
To ensure the freshness of our vegetables ? Carry out the survey with the first: what day is this or that vegetable delivered to him? In the supermarket, arrivals are often daily, but it generally took three to five days between picking and delivery. Hence the interest in favoring short circuit brands!
But whatever our mode of supply, it is better in all cases to favor organic vegetables . Since they contain less pesticides, there is no need to peel them. And it is precisely in their skin that most of the antioxidants that protect our health are concentrated! By opting for canned or frozen, we agree to consume vegetables already peeled. And who says peeling, says vitamin loss…
Canned: difficult to make more practical!
Appertisation (raising the temperature to 120–130 °) increases the bioavailability of carotenoids, these powerful antioxidants found in particular in tomatoes and carrots. In other words, these nutrients are better absorbed when heated. To choose, we will therefore prefer canned tomato puree to raw tomatoes. At least if we want to make the most of their protective active ingredients!
What about vitamin C? This is a whole different story. Appertisation has the effect of plunging the level of this vitamin, which is very sensitive to heat. Once canned, spinach, chard and peas lose between a quarter and a half of their antioxidant power. Only green beans are doing better, with a loss limited to 13%.
In addition, some vitamins like B9 are soluble and are found in the preservation liquid (which is rarely consumed). Without forgetting the addition of sugar in certain preserves, peas and corn at the head.
Should we throw out the canned food? Not so fast. Manufacturers ensure that their vegetables are picked when ripe and canned soon after. This considerably limits vitamin loss, at least before appertization. So, between carrots stored for months in the open air and carrots kept hermetically protected from air and light in a box, the heart has something to sway…
Frozen foods: they often beat fresh vegetables so fresh!
Our relations with them are rather cold. Should we do without it? On the contrary ! Because, who would have believed it, frozen vegetables are often as rich in vitamins and nutrients as fresh vegetables, if not more. The reason: as soon as frozen after harvest, these vegetables keep about 80% of their vitamin C. Yes, frozen food is often the shortest route between the field and the plate!
Studies show that once blanched and frozen, tomatoes, carrots and broccoli can even see the bioavailability of their phenols and betacarotenes increase. In other words, we absorb their precious antioxidants better. In their case, what destroys the vitamins is not so much the freezing process itself but more time, heat and light.
3 tips for eating frozen food
So: avoid keeping vegetables in the freezer for too long (each month their nutritional quality decreases a little more); never defrost vegetables before reheating them (better to immerse them directly in the cooking water); and above all, above all, limit the cooking time!
So what do we eat?
Of course, there is nothing better than freshly picked vegetables. But when the vegetables come out of a refrigerated warehouse, where they have sometimes spent several days or even weeks (even several months!), It is better to opt for frozen vegetables, much richer in vitamins.
They are best fresh: the pumpkin , the endive , radishes and mushrooms. The proof that it is not only vitamins that count!
On the canned side , carrots and tomatoes are carefully chosen (cooking improves the absorption of their antioxidants).
For vegetables rich in vitamin C (spinach, broccoli, peppers, Brussels sprouts), it is better to abstain and prefer frozen or fresh.