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Foods - fresh vs. frozen or canned

Alternative Names

Frozen foods vs. fresh or canned; Fresh foods vs. frozen or canned; Frozen vegetables versus fresh

Information

Vegetables are an important part of a well-balanced diet. Many people wonder if frozen and canned vegetables are as healthy for you as fresh vegetables.

Overall, vegetables fresh from the farm or just picked are healthier than frozen or canned ones. But frozen and canned vegetables can still be a good choice. They need to be canned or frozen right after being harvested, when they still have all of their healthy nutrients.

Also, keep in mind how much salt is added to canned vegetables. Try to buy those without added salt. And, don't overcook any vegetable, whether fresh, frozen, or canned. Instead of boiling them in water for longer periods of time, they should be lightly steamed.

References

Noel MB, Thompson M, Wadland WC, Holtrop JS. Nutrition and Family Medicine. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 37.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th ed. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010.

Updated: 8/29/2013

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


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