With a wealth of health information at our fingertips, most of us try to take good care of our bodies, getting our five fruit and veg a day and enjoying coffee and alcohol in moderation. It’s not always easy to maintain a healthy lifestyle while holding down a job or taking care of a family, though, so foodstuffs like pre-cut vegetables or ready-made side dishes often find their way into our fridges. But despite carrying a healthy image, are the ready-to-eat vegetables and ready meals found at your local convenience store really as nutritional as they’re thought to be?

If Japanese food specialist Kiyotaka Minami’s latest book “The 19 Food Habits that are Bad for the Body” is to be believed, these pre-packed time-saving gems could actually be doing our bodies more harm than good.

According to Minami, while they may look good sitting on the shelf or on our plates, the truth of the matter is that many pre-cut vegetables and ready-to-eat vegetable dishes are often coated in chemicals, meaning that they have very little nutritional benefit.

The expert foodie also argues that supposedly “freshly cut” pre-packed vegetables are something that we should be especially wary of.

According to the food specialist, what gives the vegetables such a look of freshness is the chemicals they are soaked in during the manufacturing process. The majority of vegetables lose their nutritional value way before making it onto the supermarket shelves.

I’m sure many of you are curious about what goes on in the manufacturing process to make these so-called “healthy” vegetables end up the way they do. In his book, Minami elaborates on the manufacturing process in detail, first describing how, at the factory, cut vegetables are put into a pool of sodium hypochlorite to be disinfected. They are soaked in the same chemical numerous times so as to remove any possible bacteria. At this point, giving the vegetables a quick sniff is enough to realize that they can’t be good for us, so in order to get rid of the chemical smell they are then rinsed thoroughly in water.

Minami comments:

“The majority of nutrition found inside vegetables is water soluble. Therefore, a large proportion of the good stuff gets lost during the disinfection and water rinsing process. At best, what’s left is simply fiber.”

If these claims are anything to go by, the health conscious looking for a break from home cooking might find themselves left out in the cold when turning to super markets and convenience stores’ supposedly healthier meals and side dishes for a quick solution. Perhaps it’s time we started buying our vegetables fresh out of the ground, soil and all, if we hope to get anything like the amount of nutrients that doctors and dietitians keep telling us we should?

Source: Itai News
Header image: Bunny Inset image: kura1.photozou.jp