July 17, 2020

Are Fresh Vegetables Healthier Than Frozen or Canned?

The short answer from a dietitian

fresh vegetables and canned

Is it always best to choose fresh vegetables? Are frozen and canned vegetables less healthy?

A: Fresh isn’t necessarily always best. Sometimes fresh vegetables you buy in the grocery store have traveled from a very long distance. After they get picked and packed and transported over the course of several days, they lose some of their nutrients. So frozen vegetables could actually be a better option. They are picked and frozen within hours of being harvested, so they’re going to retain a lot more of their nutrition that way.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Local produce that is grown close to you is also a great, nutritious and cost-effective option. Something you buy at your local farmers market could have been picked that morning, or the day before, so it’s likely fresher than what you’d buy at the supermarket.

Canned vegetables have a very long shelf life. The downside is they often contain sodium. But, you can choose lower sodium versions or rinse your canned vegetables in a colander under running water to get some of the salt off.

So people don’t necessarily have to shy away from canned vegetables. If that’s what you have, use it up. And actually, when it comes to tomatoes, canned tomatoes are going to be healthier than the raw version. Canned tomatoes have been heated, and that increases the amount of lycopene in them that the body can absorb, which is good for eye health.


— Beth Czerwony, RD

Related Articles

Variety of vegetables including a yellow bell pepper, tomatoes and eggplant.
March 16, 2023
Arthritis: Should You Avoid Nightshade Vegetables?

Research is inconclusive, so don’t stop eating tomatoes, potatoes and peppers just yet

recipe roasted vegetables
August 30, 2021
Recipe: Oven Roasted Vegetables

A versatile recipe that can be eaten as an entree, side dish or pizza topping

holding multicolored carrots
March 23, 2021
Reasons Why Carrots (of All Colors) Are Healthy For You

Discover the nutrients in each color of carrot

cleaning spinach and kale
November 12, 2020
Kale vs. Spinach: Which Is Heart-Healthier?

Discover which leafy green is better for your body

some meat substitutes are tofu and beans
July 3, 2020
Are Meat Substitutes Healthy?

Here’s how faux meat products stack up

Gardener harvesting nightshade veggies from his garden
September 20, 2019
What’s the Deal With Nightshade Vegetables?

Some diets shun them, but research hasn’t concluded that they’re harmful

Grilled southwestern slaw
July 11, 2019
7 Vegetable Recipes That Are Anything But Boring

Step aside, green peas and corn

Closeup of precut vegetables including carrots cabbage cauliflower lettuce
February 5, 2019
7 Tips for Getting the Most Nutrition from Bagged and Pre-Cut Veggies

As good as fresh vegetables if you follow these tips

Trending Topics

group of hands holding different beverages
November 14, 2023
10 Myths About Drinking Alcohol You Should Stop Repeating

Coffee won’t cure a hangover and you definitely shouldn’t mix your cocktail with an energy drink

Person applies moisturizer as part of their skin care routine after a shower.
November 10, 2023
Korean Skin Care Routines: What You Need To Know

Focus on the philosophy — replenishing and respecting your skin — not necessarily the steps

glass of cherry juice with cherries on table
November 8, 2023
Sleepy Girl Mocktail: What’s in It and Does It Really Make You Sleep Better?

This social media sleep hack with tart cherry juice and magnesium could be worth a try