04 June 2010

Seven myths about veggies


Myth: Fresh vegetables are more nutritious than frozen
Fact: Studies show that sometimes you can get more nutrients from frozen veggies, depending on variety and how old the vegetables at your supermarket are. That's because produce starts losing nutrient quality as soon as it's picked.
Frozen vegetables are flash-frozen right after harvest so they are preserved at their peak of freshness when they are most nutritious. Your best bet in terms of taste, nutrition, and the environment is still local in-season produce. When that's not an option frozen can be a better choice (from a nutrient standpoint) than spinachthat takes two weeks to reach your table.
Myth: Cooked veggies are less nutritious than raw
Fact: It depends on the vegetable. "Cooking destroys some nutrients, but it releases others," says Marion Nestle, author of What to Eat. It destroys vitamin C and folic acid, according to Nestle, which is why it's not a great idea to cook oranges.
On the other hand, she says, cooking releases vitamin A and the nutrients in fiber and makes them easier to digest. It's also easier for your body to absorb more lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant, in cooked tomato sauce than from raw tomatoes.
Steam or roast veggies instead of boiling, which leaches out water-soluble vitamins into the cooking water.

Myth: Iceberg lettuce doesn't have any nutrients
Fact: Iceberg lettuce is mostly water so it's hardly loaded with vitamins, but a large head does contain small amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
You'll get more nutrients from other greens that have less water such as romaine or butterhead lettuce, but contrary to popular belief, iceberg lettuce does have some nutritional value.
Myth: Local vegetables are always cheaper
Fact: It's certainly true that local produce can be good for your budget. This is especially true during the peak of harvest when farmers need to get rid of an abundant crop and there is a lot of competition.
However, there are no guarantees. Local food "is not in any way subsidized so you are paying the real cost of producing the food, and the economies of scale are not there," says Nestle.

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