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FRESH, FROZEN OR CANNED PRODUCE BEST?

In the midst of winter, most of us living in the upper midwest miss the great flavor and nutritional benefits of the fresh produce available to us in the summer time. And those fresh fruits and veggies contain lots of antioxidants which are good for our eyes.

So, from a nutritional standpoint, what type of produce should we consume in the winter? Are canned or frozen vegetables acceptable substitutes for the real thing? And if so, which is the best?

Let's look at the "fresh" produce found in the super market first. These items are grown in a warmer climate and then shipped hundreds or thousands of miles to the grocery store. They must be harvested well before they are ripe or they would be rotten by the time they make it to our local stores. And that means that they are picked before the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are at peak levels. So their nutritional value is much less than local produce grown in the summer and harvested at the right time.

Canned fruits and vegetables lose much of their nutritional value in the canning process which requires significant heat and some chemicals to prevent bacteria growth. They are better than nothing but are lacking in significant nutritional support for our bodies and eyes.

As it turns out, frozen produce is the best option nutritionally in the winter time. The fruits and vegetables are harvested at peak times and then flash frozen after being blanched. The blanching process causes minimal nutrient loss compared to the canning process. And there are actually more antioxidants in frozen produce than what is available in the fresh products that are shipped to the midwest in the winter.

Hope this helps as we would like all of our patients to support their eye health with proper diet.