Fresh vs Frozen Foods.. what do you think is better?

Posted on July 14, 2016

Fresh vs Frozen

In view of healthy eating, very often I get questions from my clients whether frozen foods are nutritionally equal to fresh foods, how do they really benefit an individual and if their taste and texture gets affected in the process. In today’s newsletter I would like to discuss this in more depth.

Personally, I purchase both fresh and frozen foods from the grocery store. Frozen foods that I purchase include corn, peas, broccoli, cottage cheese (paneer) and berries. I choose to purchase these foods in the frozen form as they are cheaper and last longer while still being just as good for you. However, I still purchase fresh foods, such as bananas, purely because the taste is better and more fresh, texture is retained and they are less time consuming to prepare as they do not need to be defrosted.

Purchasing fresh produce always refreshes me and makes me feel connected with mother earth. Yes, literally :) The bright colour, aroma of the fruits and veggies at a grocery store makes me loot them and think of recipes that I would be using them in.

Benefits of eating fresh foods:
Produce picked freshly from the farm are healthy and tasty. Additionally when defrosting frozen food the chemical makeup can be altered, resulting in digestion difficulties. The best way to ensure no preservatives, chemicals, or dyes have been added to your food is though investing in and eating freshly-grown produce.

Well, we all know the benefits of eating fresh foods in terms of flavour, texture and pretty much know that it’s good to eat fresh stuff, let’s look at their frozen versions. Are they of no good to us?

Why would one choose to purchase frozen produce?
First and foremost frozen foods are comparatively cheaper than their fresh conterparts and are easily available when stocked enough. One may even stock up their fridge with a whole year’s quota of their favourite foods. Hence, they may provide a quick fix on days when grocery shopping for the fresh produce looks difficult.

Frozen fruit smoothies taste way better than the fresh fruit ones. If you haven’t tried them, please do so. In other cases the frozen food may fade on their taste.

What about the nutritional value of the frozen foods?

They preserve the nutritional value of the produce. In fact, frozen foods are equal and in some cases better in terms of nutritional value, quality, shelf-life and cost, in comparison to their fresh counterparts.

If vegetables and berries are quick-frozen immediately after being harvested, they may have even more vitamins then fresh foods transported.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are picked prior to reaching peak ripeness, shortening the time fruits and vegetables have to develop all their vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, frozen foods are picked at their peak ripeness, when they are the most nutrient dense.

Immediately after being picked fresh foods will naturally begin to decay. Where as through the freezing process, bacteria is killed and food-degrading enzymes are stopped.

Nutritional value of frozen fruits and vegetables are generally equal or more superior then fresh produce.

Additionally, freezing improves vitamin E content in fruits and vegetables.

Nutrient value of minerals (calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper and iron), fibre and total phenolics (health-promoting plant compounds) are better conserved in frozen produce.

So which foods to choose fresh and frozen?
Foods rich in water soluble vitamins (such as vitamins C and B) are preferred in fresh form as these vitamins are dissolved during food processing.
So when purchasing fresh produce consider:

-bell peppers

-citrus fruits

-cabbage

-berries

Foods high in fat-soluble nutrients, such as vitamin A, carotenoids, and vitamin E are better frozen, as these are better preserved and less sensitive during food processing and storage.
So when purchasing frozen produce consider:

-carrots

-leafy greens

-broccoli

-corn

What’s my take on this?

Daily the average American only consumes one-third of the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. An excellent solution to this issue may be incorporating frozen fruits and vegetables into your diet- due to its convenience and cheapness. However, frozen or fresh, in order to maintain a healthy, balanced diet remember to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables daily.

 

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