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Don’t avoid the freezer aisle – there’s treasure in those chests. Discover the vegetables that will cryogenically boost your nutritional intake BY RUTH EMMET T
When it comes to your five-aday, fresh is not always best. “Supermarket veg is stored for weeks,” says nutritionist and sports performance expert Glenys Jones. “There’s a clear link between storage and vitamin loss.” Frozen vegies, meanwhile, get picked, washed and blanched within the hour. When flash-frozen, they form ice crystals too small to damage the plant’s cells and nutritional content. Use our guide to earn yourself maximum nutrient points in the frozen foods aisle.
45% NUTRIENT GAIN GREEN BEANS
44% NUTRIENT GAIN CORN
A genuinely special K, this vitamin prevents your heart valves from hardening. One 125g serving of freshpicked, flash-frozen beans packs in 25 per cent of your daily needs. For a triple heart-healthy feast, sauté 400g of beans in olive oil with garlic and sprinkle on 100g of slivered almonds. Allicin in the garlic relaxes your blood vessels, while the almonds’ arginine content keeps your arteries supple.
This yellow favourite is a mixed bag. It’s full of vitamin C (used in everything from collagen and histamine production to regulating anti-stress hormones) but loses some in freezing. However, a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found its antioxidant levels are better preserved. So if you want to put ageing on ice, head to the freezer.
25% NUTRIENT GAIN BROCCOLI
15% NUTRIENT GAIN PEAS
This B-vitamin helps you produce white and red blood cells, but more importantly, perhaps, it helps produce semen. The Journal of Human Reproduction recently reported that men who eat more folate are 20-30 per cent less likely to have abnormal sperm. Try sprinkling sesame seeds on steamed frozen florets – they contain amino acids that are also vital for sperm production.
Manganese helps your body break down fat, so increase your intake and your cholesterol will fall, reports a study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. Frozen peas are also a great source of water-soluble vitamins B1 and B6, so don’t throw away the cooking liquid. Boil 300 grams of peas in 500 millilitres of chicken stock, swirl in some cream and blend it into soup, or use the stock for a risotto.
BEST FOR... VITAMIN K, THE HEART PROTECTOR
BEST FOR... FOLATE, THE SPERM COUNT SUPER-SIZER
BEST FOR... ANTIOXIDANTS, THE AGE FIGHTERS
BEST FOR... MANGANESE, THE CHOLESTEROL KILLER
10% NUTRIENT GAIN CARROTS BEST FOR... BETA-CAROTENE, NATURE’S SUNSCREEN
Beta-carotene (BC) fights the free radicals created through unprotected sun exposure. In a study published in Free Radical Research, German researchers found that 30 milligrams of BC daily – the equivalent of 1½ cups of carrots – cut the risk of sun damage. It stands up to the freezing process, but BC’s soluble in fat, so add butter to steamed carrots before mashing them to release the nutrients.
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