Robert Clements, an adjunct prof of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences at the Univ of Southern California, says many consumers already know processed foods and reduce costs and improve convenience--but they did not know that food technology can increase food safety and boost nutrition.
You mean some processed food can be good for you?
Example: Tomatoes. These contain lycopene, an important dietary element linked to reduction of the risk of prostate cancer. When food companies "process" these tomatoes in sauce, juice, or paste--the lycopene is transformed into a form more easily used by the body.
You hear a lot about eating a "raw foods" diet--but cooking enhances the body's absorption of pigments such as lycopene, or the beta carotene (the orange in carrots) by softening it so it can be digested better. Adding some fat, as in pasta cause, enhances absorption even more.
Researchers urge people to eat both fresh and processed tomatoes.
Other processing techniques also make food more nutritious--for instance, companies freeze green beans within an hour--making frozen green beans better for you than the ones at the farmer's market.
Plus--vitamins are often added to food--such as the often-needed vitamin D to milk and cereal.
This isn't saying you should be jamming in the Hot Pockets, but don't turn up your nose at all processed foods.