Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

About The Buzz: Frozen Produce is Nutritionally Comparable to Fresh?

December 9, 2015

TheBUZZ Frozen Produce is Nutritionally Comparable to Fresh?

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Americans are failing to eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables.1 An easy solution – increase availability at home by purchasing frozen produce as well as fresh. But, are frozen fruits and veggies as healthy as fresh or are too many nutrients lost when they are processed? Turns out that frozen fruits and vegetables compare nutritionally to fresh, making them a healthy option to help increase consumption.2,3,4

HOW DO WE KNOW THIS

A recent study compared nutrient levels of vitamins C, A, E, B vitamins, fiber, phenolic compounds (antioxidants), and minerals to determine differences between fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables.3,4 The study found that overall frozen fruits and vegetables were nutritionally comparable to fresh varieties. Only slight losses of vitamin A was noted in frozen produce when it was heat processed, but it really depended on the freezing method used and the fruit or vegetable being processed. Interestingly, vitamin E was less affected by heat processing. Levels of vitamin E were found to be higher in cooked produce that had been previously frozen than fresh cooked produce.

Another study looked at the retention of nutrients in eight frozen fruits and vegetables compared to produce kept in a refrigerator.5,6 The researchers found frozen produce to also be nutritionally comparable to fresh fruits and veggies. However, beta-carotene (converted into vitamin A in the body) in frozen spinach, carrots, and peas was found to be lower than their counterparts that had been stored in a refrigerator. Overall, the differences between frozen and refrigerated produce was not significant for phenolic compounds, fiber, minerals, and vitamins making frozen produce a healthy and convenient alternative to fresh.

WHAT THIS MEANS

Frozen fruits and vegetables are a healthy alternative for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. They are fast to prepare, economical, and delicious making them a perfect addition to any meal. Fresh fruit and veggies have similar nutrient losses once they have been picked and stored. By adding frozen produce to meals, you have greater cooking options and always have fruits and vegetables on hand. When time is really short or cooking is not your thing, frozen entrées like Luvo, are packed with fruits and vegetables and are another great option for increasing daily fruit and veggie intake.

OUR ADVICE

All forms of fruits and vegetables matter! Frozen fruits and veggies are equally nutritious compared to fresh and should be part of your day. So, check out the recipes below and eat up!

Our Favorite Frozen Fruit & Vegetable Recipes
Easy Vegetable Soup
Oriental Sweet & Sour Vegetables
Vegetarian Shepherds Pie
Easy Vegetable Foccaccia
Technicolor Pizzas
Purple Party Parfait
Chicken Chili Verde Salad
Orange Mango Chicken Lettuce Wraps

 

1 Susan M. Krebs-Smith, et al. Americans do not meet federal dietary recommendations. J Nutr. (2010); 140(10):1832-1838. Doi: 10.3945/jn.110.124826. View

2 Frozen Food Foundation. Research. Last updated 2015. Accessed September 5, 2015. View

3 Joy Rickman, et al. Review: nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen and canned fruit and vegetables. Part I. Vitamins C and B and phenolic compounds. J Sci Food Agric. 2007; 87:97-944. Doi: 10.1002/jsfa.2825. View

4 Joy Rickman, et al. Review: nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen and canned fruit and vegetables. Part II. Vitamin A and carotenoids, vitamin E, minerals and fiber. J Sci Food Agric. 2007;87:1185-1196. Doi: 10.1002/jsfa.2824. View

5 Ali Bouzari, et al. Mineral, Fiber, and Phenolic Retention in Eight Fruits and Vegetables: A Comparison of Refrigerated and Frozen Storage. J Agric. Food Chem. 2015;63:951-956. Doi: 10.1021/jf504890k. View

6 Ali Bouzari, et al. Vitamin Retention in Eight Fruits and Vegetables: A Comparison of Refrigerated and Frozen Storage. J Agric. Food Chem. 2015;63:957-962. Doi: 10.1021/jf5058793. View

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