Raw Food, Jarred Food or Canned Food?

Ever wonder what foods at your local grocer are the most fresh? Obviously fresh raw food is the best for consumption, but if it is not something easily accessible or if it’s too expensive , there are other choices available. Canned, jarred and frozen are various methods of preserving food for later consumption.

Using carrots for comparison in raw form, they hold the most nutrient value. One cup of chopped carrots or 128 grams contain approximately 88mg of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 4g of dietary fiber, 6 grams of sugar and 1 gram of protein. This is according to the Jillian Michaels Food Summary. Also contained in this portion are the following vitamins based on a 2000 calorie daily diet: A 428%, C 13%, Calcium 4%, K 21% and Iron 2%.

Canned carrots have a serving size of 146 grams equal to one cup, excluding salt with drained solids. A cup contains 61mg of sodium, 8g of carbohydrates, 2g of dietary fiber, 4g of sugar and 1g of protein. Vitamins are A 326%, C 7%, Calcium 4%, K 18% and Iron 5%. Notice that the grams of carbs, fiber, etc. and vitamin content is lower for canned foods, but with Iron, there was an increase of 3%.

Carrots, frozen and unprepared is weighed at 128g to equal one cup. This contains 88mg of sodium, 10g of carbohydrates, 4g of dietary fiber, 6g of sugar and 0 proteins. Vitamin content is A 364%, C 6%, Calcium 4%, K 28% and Iron at 4%.

If fresh raw carrots were not available, perhaps the next best choice would be frozen as it has the next highest percent of Vitamin A. With factory-canned foods, it is believed that the process and material used is unhealthy. Stories referencing FDA factory inspections of canned foods have produced reports of unclean conditions of mold, maggots, and crawling insects in swollen cans of beans. BPA is also known as a liner for glass and can products that hold food. Traces of this substance have been found in 90% of infant cord blood. Hearing these stories may have you think twice of what you are about to consume.

On the other hand concerning fresh food, a study was done in 2004 at the Biochemical Institute of the University of Texas where it was found that “some vegetables have lost more than 70% of their nutrient content in the last 30 years.” They believe that it has something to do with how highly industrialized farming has become; the chemicals used to speed up the growth process; and the fertilizers and breeding that shorten the time frame fruits and vegetables can absorb nutrients from the soil. The best approach to finding quality raw fruits and vegetables are to purchase those that are organically grown. The methods used to grow organic fruits and vegetables help increase the production of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals have protective or disease fighting properties. For example, allicin from garlic has anti-bacterial properties. Lycopene studies have resulted in lower risks of various types of cancers.

When choosing raw fruits and vegetables, choose not only organic, but also go for quality and not size. Choose heirloom varieties and also mix your diet. Some phytochemicals react well together and have better absorption of vitamins and minerals.