How quickly is your food losing its nutrients?

Published on September 14 2011 - 3:36 PM
How quickly is your food losing its nutrients?

I like to keep a stockpile of my favorite foods in my pantry so that when the mood strikes, I have what I’m craving. But it turns out that may not be a good idea for certain foods, because they actually lose their health punch over time, according to a report by Amy Paturel in EatingWell Magazine.   

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Keep track of how long you store these 4 items. Here's why: certain nutrients are unstable when exposed to oxygen (from the air), heat (from cooking) and light.

Orange juice: 1 week
One cup of OJ can offer a full day's dose of vitamin C. But OJ that has been opened loses all antioxidant benefit after just one week. To get the most vitamin C, buy frozen concentrate and drink within a few days. Frozen concentrate is exposed to less light and air.

Green tea: 6 months
A 2009 study in the Journal of Food Science showed that green tea’s catechins (antioxidants linked with a reduced risk of some cancers) decreased markedly over time. After six months, catechin levels were 32 percent lower. Make the most of the antioxidants by storing tea in a sealed container in a dark, cool place.
(Add this 1 ingredient to your tea to make it healthier.)

Olive oil: 6 months
Extra-virgin olive oil contains more than 45 heart-healthy antioxidants, but after six months of storage their potency decreases by about 40 percent, according to researchers at the University of Foggia in Italy. Why? Oxygen bubbles in the bottle destroy the antioxidants.

Honey: 6 months
Researchers at the University of Illinois found the antioxidant power of clover honey and buckwheat honey decreased by 30 to 50 percent after six months. Consider buying buckwheat honey—it generally has more antioxidants to start with.

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Michelle is the digital editor for EatingWell Media Group. She puts her background in journalism to work online at EatingWell.com and in EatingWell Magazine, authoring the Good Questions interview with interesting people in the world of food and health.