We have all heard how frozen fruits and vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh and in some cases more so, but what about canned? Being picked at their peak of ripeness is one thing but does the heating process used to make canned food safe have a cost? Well, scientists from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University sought to answer this question for peaches and found they are also just as nutritious. Good news if you’re craving peaches when out of season.

The September 2012 study compared the nutrient content of samples of canned vs fresh peaches, from the same lot, obtained from commercial canners before and after the canning process. Researchers then measured vitamins A, C and E, folate, carotenoids, total phenolic content and antioxidant power using the FRAP assay. In the cases of vitamin C, antioxidant power and folate values were actually higher for canned peaches. Now, the authors made no mention of whether the canned peaches they used were fortified with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in which case the vitamin C might be expected to be higher. Usually canned peaches are fortified with this as a preservative but some are not, you can check by looking for “ascorbic acid” in the ingredients list. For the rest of the nutrients (vitamins A, E, carotenoids and antioxidant phenolics) any differences that were found did not achieve statistical significance once the data was analyzed. Furthermore, samples from canned fruit were unchanged three months later.

What does all this mean to you? Well, it means that canned peaches can have the same nutrition impact on our diets as fresh peaches. A serving of peaches fresh or canned is a good source of vitamins A and C and contains healthy amounts of both fiber and potassium as well as a healthy dose of phytochemicals. With all these nutrients no wonder peaches are known for their breast and other cancer fighting abilities, nice to know this October which is breast cancer awareness month!

Published October 1, 2013