1. Are frozen fruits high in nutrients?
One common misconception that most people have about frozen produce is that fruits and vegetables lose their natural nutrients and vitamins after being refrigerated or put in the freezer. Let us clear this up – they do not! In fact, a lot of fruits and vegetables are actually more nutritious when they’re frozen. Fresh food is obviously scrumptious, and you can eat fresh fruits and vegetables as much as you want. Yet there’s a spot for frozen produce in your life as well. To get your recommended five-a-day, sometimes it simply bodes well to pick the cooler path.
Don’t believe us? Just ask this week’s #SmoofiiLover Safe Sophia, who never compromises on her health and follows the advice of nutritional experts like it’s gospel. When Sophia was first told this fact, she didn’t believe it either – well, incredulous would be a more appropriate term for her reaction. But when she delved deeper into the subject, she found several experts that endorsed the idea of frozen produce being a good and healthy addition to her diet. Let’s talk about why.
The Nutrition is Locked in Place
It’s true that fruits and vegetables begin losing their nutritional value almost immediately after being picked. But most of them are frozen as soon as they’re harvested and while they’re in the freezer, they’re allowed to ripen completely and are full of essential nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which are “locked in” until consumption.
In a study conducted by Dr. Diane Barrett from UC Davis, eight of the most commonly-consumed frozen fruits and vegetables (including strawberries, carrots, broccoli and blueberries) were evaluated based on their nutritional value under normal and frozen conditions. They discovered that minerals (like calcium, copper and iron), fibres and other nutrients were, mostly, just as well-preserved in frozen fruits and vegetables as compared to fresh. “The study revealed that in most cases frozen produce is nutritionally equivalent, and often superior, to its fresh-stored counterpart. In particular, the vitamin C content of frozen corn, green beans and blueberries was significantly higher than their fresh-stored counterparts,” Dr. Barrett concluded.
There could be several reasons why this is true but one of the most obvious is that frozen produce is locked in to their highest quality of nutrition while fresh fruits and vegetables can naturally diminish their nutritional value if stored for a few days.
2. Benefits of frozen fruits and Vegetables
They’re Free of Additional Preservatives and Extremely Affordable
Most fruits and vegetables don’t require any added preservatives – all that is required for preservation is a freezer. As a precaution, always check the ingredients list of frozen produce but you’re more than likely to find just one thing listed there – the fruit or vegetable itself.
Frozen produce is very cost-efficient, too. Not only can they be stored for a long time, making them a good investment if you’re not going to use all of it right away; more often than not organic frozen food is always cheaper than their fresh counterparts.
They’re Super Convenient and Versatile
One big advantage of frozen produce is that you can use the amount you need and leave the rest for some other time. Frozen fruits and vegetables are also pre-cleaned and pre-chopped, allowing the preparation time at home to cut short. And each frozen packet comes with clear storage and cooking instructions so it’s extremely convenient to consume. Frozen produce is also extremely versatile – not only can they be used in regular meal preps, but they are also great for preparing healthy frozen fruit smoothies, salads, yogurt, oatmeal or other breakfast items, lean protein adjuncts and pastes.
Since her discovery, our #SmoofiiLover Safe Sophia has slowly been increasing her intake of frozen produce (always erring on the side of caution, that one) and has seen a steady increase in her nutritional intake and best of all – she’s learnt how to take chances for a positive impact in her standard of living.
3. TIps and tricks for buying frozen produce
Safe Sophia does have a few tips for you to keep in mind:
- When in a grocery store, pick frozen vegetables without added sauces or salt, and frozen fruits without added sugar for the best nutritional benefits.
- Keep the door of the deep freezer shut while browsing because exposure to room temperature can cause the micronutrients in the produce to deteriorate over time.
- Feel the texture of the product before buying. Frozen produce should be hard and solid, not soft or thawing. But ensure that you don’t see signs of thawed and refrozen produce which can be indicated by staining and crystallisation on the packet or the presence of solid blocks instead of the individual frozen fruit or vegetable.
- Don’t overheat or re-freeze the products once thawed for consumption because you will seriously destroy the nutritional value of the fruit or vegetable that you’re using.
- A dash of lemon juice goes a long way in preserving the vitamin C and keeping the produce fresh and tasty.
- Store the frozen produce deep inside your home freezer and save the front for ice, dessert or other item
So to conclude, #SmoofiiLover Safe Sophia suggests that the best balanced diets should ensure an equal amount of fresh and frozen produce as they both have their individual health benefits. But at the end of the day, in the conflict of frozen fruits and vegetables vs fresh, you can’t deny that frozen is the most convenient and affordable.