To find out how the processing of produce may affect its nutrient content, I consulted Mario G. Ferruzzi, a professor within the Department of Food, Bioprocessing in addition to also Nutrition Sciences at North Carolina State University.
“The general answer will be in which lots of things, including processing, will affect the nutrient content, however the item definitely depends on the nature of the product, the type in addition to also extent of processing in addition to also the actual nutrient we are talking about,” he said.
Bagged greens are often pre-washed. (Isn’t in which why we love them?) however washing, which will be intended to clean produce, can also damage plant tissues in addition to also expose them to oxygen dissolved within the washing water. This kind of can cause a loss of vitamins in which are water-soluble in addition to also sensitive to oxygen, such as vitamin C in addition to also the B vitamin folate.
All greens are washed to a certain extent, whether we’re talking about a fresh bunch of spinach or the bagged variation, however a triple-washed bagged spinach can create surface damage, provide opportunities for leeching or even facilitate oxidation reactions, all of which impact quality.
Still, Ferruzzi said in which companies are “doing the item in a way to maximize quality, in addition to also This kind of can minimize losses” in addition to also in which there will be still a lot of nutrition left within the leaves after they are washed.
In general, minerals such as iron in addition to also calcium are largely stable within the plant. Losses may occur when heat will be applied (as within the process of canning), however not as much through typical washing.
Vitamins tend to be more sensitive to light, heat in addition to also oxygen. Beta-carotene, for example, will be not very stable within the presence of oxygen or light, Ferruzzi explained.
When the item comes to chopping veggies, there may not be a great amount of nutrient loss coming from the cutting itself. “However, you do create damage to plant cells, potentially releasing enzymes in addition to also some other factors, as well as create more surface area for oxidation to occur,” Ferruzzi said. In some other words, chopping may accelerate losses in which one would certainly typically see in fresh vegetables as they age. However, dramatic losses are unlikely “unless you are obliterating the item.”
Bagging greens often involves a process known as modified atmosphere packaging. The amount of oxygen in which typically exists within the atmosphere will be reduced within the bag, replaced with an inert gas such as nitrogen. In essence, less oxygen will be available to react with nutrients. “in addition to also in which can enhance the retention of colour in addition to also the most oxidatively sensitive nutrients, like vitamin C, folate in addition to also beta carotene,” Ferruzzi said.
The main driver of This kind of process will be preventing visual modifications such as browning or wilting, though nutrient loss would certainly typically occur at the same time. The bottom line will be in which “bagging may help to keep what’s in there there longer,” Ferruzzi said.
For many (including myself), a bit of convenience will go a lot further than a bit more freshness — especially since my lettuce bags may sit within the fridge for a few days before I open them.
“What the convenience factor has done to improve our consumption of vegetables in This kind of country will be massive in terms of helping our country’s nutrition,” Ferruzzi said. “Let’s not find reasons to discourage the item.”
For your freshest, most nutritious produce, go with your gut. “Your intuition in addition to also your eyeballs matter,” he said. Factors such as colour in addition to also texture should be considered when purchasing greens, whether fresh or bagged. in addition to also with bagged, the item’s important to look for ones with the most recent pack date, which are put in last in addition to also are most likely fresher, Ferruzzi explained.
“You want to buy higher-quality stuff, in addition to also in which usually means fresher stuff however not necessarily less processed … in addition to also in which should, in theory, be correlated to a higher nutritional value.”
All of This kind of information may cause to you to wonder: Should you buy fresh greens or bagged?
The answer may have to do with when you are planning on eating them.
“The way I think about the item will be in which there’s a typical quality in addition to also nutrient loss curve in which happens coming from harvest to consumption. in addition to also there are steps within the middle in which you can do in which make the item better or worse,” Ferruzzi said.
“If you think about, for example, fresh lettuce or fresh spinach in which’s picked in addition to also harvested … the item might be washed in addition to also bundled … in addition to also the item’s exposed to oxygen, light in addition to also moisture, in addition to also the item’s getting sprayed with water to stay cold in addition to also fresh, in addition to also there’s significant nutrient loss occurring day by day.”
With packaged greens, you may lose a little more up front during the initial processing, however depending on how they are packaged, you develop the potential to control the rate of quality in addition to also nutritional declines when veggies are stored.
The same can be said for frozen veggies, which are initially blanched to inactivate enzymes in which would certainly otherwise break down nutrients in addition to also then frozen to stop bacterial spoilage, versus the natural degradation in addition to also rotting in which occurs in fresh produce.
“When you compare fresh string beans in a store versus frozen, frozen will be almost always be higher in nutrient content, because they were picked in addition to also processed at the highest point of quality in addition to also then frozen to preserve them,” Ferruzzi said.
Lisa Drayer will be a nutritionist, an author in addition to also a sy88pgw health in addition to also nutrition contributor.