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DNA results revealed and the difference between fresh vs frozen fruits and veggies

Created date

July 23rd, 2018

Dr. Norman received her bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tex., and her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco. Her internship and residency in internal medicine and fellowship in geriatrics were also completed at the University of California, San Francisco. Board-certified in internal medicine and geriatrics, Norman joined Highland Springs in June 2007.

Q:I sent a DNA sample to a company for analysis of my ancestry and health risks. The results showed that I have a gene that puts me at increased risk for age-related macular degeneration. Does that mean I am going to develop this condition?

A. Having a gene that is associated with a particular disease does not guarantee you are going to develop it. Most diseases begin because of a complex interplay of modifiable risk factors, unmodifiable risk factors, and gene expression (whether a gene activates, in other words). There is usually more than one gene associated with a disease, and according to the National Eye Institute, researchers have identified at least 20 genes associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Risk factors for AMD include being over age 60, a family history of the disease, smoking, lack of exercise, and an unhealthful diet. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people age 50-plus, so it’s important to have an annual dilated eye examination to check for early signs of it.

 

Q:Are fresh fruits and vegetables more healthful than the (much more convenient!) frozen and canned varieties?

A. Many people think fresh produce is always the best choice, but research indicates otherwise. After harvest, fresh fruits and vegetables can lose nutrients quickly if they have to be transported to the store from a significant distance, and they continue to break down the longer they stay on shelves. In addition, fresh fruits and vegetables can deteriorate from a nutrition standpoint while in the refrigerator. One study showed that spinach can lose up to 75% of its vitamin C after only one week in the refrigerator.

On the other hand, review studies show that some canned and frozen foods can be higher in certain nutrients than their fresh counterparts. Canned tomatoes, for example, can be up to six times higher in lycopene, a pigment that has been found to be beneficial to health—especially the heart. Frozen fruits and vegetables undergo the blanching and freezing process when they’re freshest, and freezing helps preserve nutrients. Because it’s so crucial to good health, I recommend that you eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, no matter if they’re fresh, frozen, or canned.

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