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Kitchen tips: Are frozen vegetables and fruit less healthy than fresh ones?

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Image: Pixabay
 

Should you just go for convenience and buy frozen vegetables and fruit, instead of fresh ones?

Most people think it is better or healthier to buy fresh vegetables and fruit, but you’re in luck — frozen fruits and vegetables also retain their nutrients, according to a recent study from the University of Georgia.

Researchers analysed the nutrient content of eight fruits and vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, peas, green beans, spinach, blueberries, and strawberries) at six different seasonal points throughout two years. They split the produce into three different groups: fresh, fresh-stored (meaning it sat in the fridge for five days), and frozen.

In a majority of their comparisons, the researchers found no significant difference in the nutrient content — specifically vitamin C, provitamin A, and total folate — of the fruits and vegetables. When there were differences, frozen produce was actually more likely to retain its nutrients than fresh-stored, the researchers found.

That’s because fruits and vegetables produce enzymes that quickly lead to spoiling of nutrients. Freezing them puts that process on hold, which keeps all the nutrients packed tight until you’re ready to eat them, says Carolyn Brown, M.S., R.D., a nutritionist who is not affiliated with the study.

So it’s doesn’t really matter whether you prefer fresh or frozen, as long as you’re actually incorporating enough fruits and vegetables into your meals. But when taste and texture really matter — say, on top of your pancakes or as a salad topper — fresh fruit can be a better option. Of course, if you’re on a budget and frequently find yourself flying out the door in the morning, frozen fruit and vegetables can be a huge time-saver.

 

Adapted from Men's Health Singapore.