Are fresh fruits and vegetables better for us than their processed alternatives? The answer may surprise you! Keep reading to learn more about processed food and its nutrition value.

There are many rumors out there when it comes to the nutrient content of fresh vs processed food. Many believe that “fresh is best” when it comes to fruits and vegetables; however, emerging evidence shows that this may not be true!

During the off season, many fruits and vegetables can become pricy and harder to find in their fresh form. This is where purchasing canned alternatives may be more friendly to both your wallet and your health! One example of this is the tomato. Found in many forms (fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and juiced), processed tomatoes are a good way to enjoy this healthful produce item all year long. In fact, studies show that the nutrition content of canned tomatoes contained significantly higher amounts of minerals such as sodium, potassium, and calcium [1]. Additionally, the vitamin C content of canned tomatoes is higher in canned tomatoes than their fresh counterpart [1]. 

Another nutrient found within tomatoes that is an antioxidant is called lycopene. Lycopene becomes more bioavailable when heated, therefore it is more prominent in canned tomatoes than fresh. During the canning process tomatoes are heated which activates the disease fighting lycopene. Choosing canned tomatoes can be a great way to incorporate healthy foods in your diet on a budget!

Learn more about the benefits of lycopene with these resources:

Lycopene and Canned Tomatoes May Help with Cancer Prevention
Health Connection Between Tomatoes and Lycopene
What is Lycopene?


  1. Abdullahi, I. I., Abdullahi, N., Abdu, A. M., & Ibrahim, A. S. (2016, June 25).Proximate, mineral and vitamin analysis of fresh and Canned Tomato. Biosciences Biotechnology Research Asia. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from
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