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Ask the Expert Archive

When I buy lettuce in the bag (romaine hearts, not pre cut) it generally says that the bag was packed at least 10 days prior to the day that I’m in the store.I know veggies lose their nutrients after a point. How do I actually know how old the lettuce really is and if the vitamins haven’t degraded?

In general this is not something you should be concerned about. You should select lettuce that is bright, has crisp leaves, and no brown spots. The key to determining if there has been a decrease in the nutrient content of a fruit or vegetable is by assessing its appearance. This will tell you if the fruit or vegetable is older/spoiled. If it is spoiled or discolored you are likely not getting as many nutrients as you would from a fresh and healthy product (although at this point optimal taste and texture is probably compromised more than nutrient differences ). Check out our Fruit & Vegetable Nutrition Database for more information on selecting lettuce and other produce.

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The Expert: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, is the President and CEO of the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation. At PBH, she guides the Foundation’s efforts to advance the overall effort of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.
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