Just as we were surprised to find out that certain fruits and veggies are more nutritious when cooked, we were pretty shocked to realize that buying fresh isn’t always best, either. So here’s our guide to choosing between fresh, canned or frozen the next time you're shopping for these five produce staples.

 

best veg peas
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Peas: Best frozen

In addition to being super helpful when you have a sore back, a bag of frozen peas has more beta-carotene, a pigment that the body converts to vitamin A, than fresh or canned peas.

best veg tomato
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Tomatoes: Best canned

Canned tomatoes are preserved using heat, which releases more of the fruit’s supply of lycopene, the chemical that helps protect against heart disease and some cancers. They also have the highest levels of beta-carotene, so good things all around.

best veg lemon
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Lemon juice: Best fresh

Sure, picking up a bottle of lemon juice is easier than squeezing your own (and less painful if you have any cuts on your hands), but going the fresh route is definitely worth it, health-wise, since bottled lemon juice often has additives like sugar and water. To make it easier to always have the fresh stuff on hand, freeze lemon juice in ice cube trays and always keep a stash of cubes in your freezer.

best veg spinach
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Spinach: Best frozen

Not only is spinach better for you when cooked, it’s also better for you when frozen. One cup of frozen spinach has more than four times the amount of certain nutrients (fiber, folate, iron and calcium) than a cup of fresh spinach since it’s more densely packed. The more you know…

best veg corn
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Corn: Best canned

We knew canned corn was easier to eat (it doesn’t get stuck in our teeth nearly as much), but we didn’t know that the canning process has been proven to increase levels of carotenoids including lutein, a pigment that guards the body from the effects of free radicals, which play a role in lots of diseases.

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