Things to watch out when shopping for food
Choosing the right products in a diet is the first step towards better health. Some conclusions can be made from package and company image, but the case is not so simple when we are talking about unpacked food, as fruits, vegetables, sometime grain, seeds etc.
The quality of fruits and vegetables degrades rapidly within few days, so it is not only important that the food looks good but it also should have the appropriate nutrients. Usually the taste of the product tells a lot about the quality, but not for all health related parameters, as aflatoxins, because they are tasteless and it takes a long time before they express their hazardous effect. Bad storage conditions, as humidity, mixing the products with inappropriate or highly aromatic products, high temperatures etc. may change severely the product. You may buy a fruit with excellent look but with untypical or even repulsive flavor from other compound that have been stored in same place, product that has a slight smell of mold, or one that has been rotten from inside. Imported fruits and vegetables mainly are picked when they are not still fully ripened and they are stored in containers with controlled atmosphere that enables ripening during transport. So when the food reaches the retail places it is fully ripened and ready to be sold. The flavor of this products and the ones picked after being fully ripened is not the same at all, because there is a huge difference in exposure to sun. But most important is that they do not have the same nutritious profile as fully ripened products, as it was found that fully ripened products had higher content of vitamin C (Lee and Kader, 2000).
In case in your shopping area there is never fresh fruits or vegetables, or this may refer to a certain fruit or vegetable then it is much better to buy a frozen one. In a recent study carried out by University of Chester fresh fruits stored at 4˚C for 3 days were evaluated for their nutrient content opposite their counter pairs frozen fruits and vegetables stored at domestic freezer at -20 ˚C. The study was made for evaluation of the impact of storage conditions. The products were evaluated for their content in vitamin C, total poyphenols, total anthocyanins and carotenoids (beta-carotene and lutein), and it was found out that the concentration of nutrients of frozen products was similar to the fresh ones prior their storage. But during the storage the nutrient content decreased to levels below the one of frozen products, and after 3 days the results were the worst (Bonwick and Birch, 2013).
When choosing a prepacked food, the label and total package hold all the information. This can be exhausting and even boring sometime, but if you want to know what you are spending your money on, this is essential. The producer should label all the ingredients on the label (sometime there are small exceptions), although the practice sometime says differently and that had even resulted in fatal consequences. People have more repulsive feelings towards additives, but not all E numbers are health threatening, sometime is opposite. For instance there is cucumin, vitamin C, alpha tocopherol (Vitamin E,) and many others. So before you reject them all, be well informed. Product label can be very misleading sometime. For instance the front side of the product, juice for instance, may have 100% followed by “berries” or “fruit”. In a rush of shopping sometime consumers do no notice the difference, but if you want berries the first choice is much better. Not giving many information on the label is also confusing and doesn’t do much when building a trust in some company. For instance probiotic food should have information on the density of probiotic strain. Playing fair would mean that the producer besides the density of probiotics, should also state the expected amount in the intestine.
So one should be very careful when choosing a trustworthy place for grocery shopping, and a trustworthy food company.
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