advice, nutrition, nutrition advice, Q&A, Uncategorized, vegan food

Fresh vs frozen vegetables?

Let’s talk fresh vs frozen vegetables and fruit.

I am someone who eats mostly frozen vegetables for a number of reason 1) it is cheaper, 2) it lasts longer and 3) there is a lower risk for (alive) insects and bugs in frozen than in fresh.

If you want an extensive and more comprehensive information about fresh vs frozen i recommend Jeff Nippards video on this topic, HERE. However i thought i would summarize in text for those of you who don’t want to or have time to watch a youtube video.

So…. many think that when you freeze vegetables or fruit they lose nutritional value, but that isn’t always true. Sure it makes them more “processed” compared to fresh – as freezing vegetables is a process and are there for a half processed food. However that doesn’t mean they lose all of their nutritional value, infact at times it actually makes them maintain more of their nutritional value compared to fresh produce. There are techniques now that freeze the vegetables so that they retain alot of nutrients and vitamins and because they are frozen at their peak, they also maintain alot of nutrients.

So let’s start at the beginning…. from the moment you harvest/pick the vegetables and fruit they can begin to lower in nutritional value, i.e the vitamins can “disappear” from the food. Then during transportation which can be very long distances, then when they get to the store and they are placed in the produce aisle and shelves and then it can go hours or days until the produce is bought, transported/carried home and left in the fridge until eaten either the same day or several days later. I.e the process of being harvested to actually being eaten can be several days and within that time the produce is being handled and stored and can lose some of it’s vitamins and minerals. And then of course it is the cooking process, when you cut and cook food some of the vitamins can disapper (leach out into the water) as well, especially vitamin C. The best way to cook vegetables is usually steaming as that maintains most of the vitamins compared to when you boil and alot of the vitamins end up in the water.

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I have written a post about raw food diets HERE , talking about raw food vs cooked food. Some foods are most nutritious raw while others are better when cooked as it allows for better absorption of certain vitamins, example tomatoes and the lycopen in them.

What about frozen vegetables? Usually the vegetables are frozen almost directly after being harvested, meaning that alot of the nutrients are not lost during the transportation or shelving of the foods. Instead the only real nutritional loss is when you heat or cook the vegetables and then there can be some loss from the heat or if you boil in too much water. However, there is some loss of vitamin C if the vegetables such as carrots or potatoes are chopped and then frozen… however that loss of vitamin C would occur at home as well when you chop fresh vegetables – there isn’t anything you can do about it. Also considering that vitamin C is one of the easiest vitamins to get it is not a huge problem either, and the same goes for B vitamins.

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According to one study, HERE, there was no difference in nutritional value in frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables (corn, broccoli, spinach, carrots, peas, green beans, strawberries and blueberries). And in another study vitamin C was actually higher in the frozen vegetables compared to the fresh ones (as vitamin C slowly disappears once the vegetable/fruit is picked).

In another study HERE, there was no significant difference between the fiber content or magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron in different fresh vs frozen fruit and vegetables.

To summarize….  Both fresh and frozen are good and nutrititous. There are freezing techniques that preserve a lot of nutrients and freezing slows down the rotting process and lasts longer. So go for the version you like best! When buying fresh vegetables it is best to go for the in season vegetables are they have the most nutrients as well as being better for the environment!

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Also note… canned vegetables and fruits are not the most nutritious because of the way they are preserved, as well as often being in a salt or sugar liquid to preserve them.

 

Which do you prefer, frozen or fresh? 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Fresh vs frozen vegetables?”

  1. I only ever really buy frozen peas and whole green beans – anything else I tend to find goes too “mushy” when cooked , especially sprouts. Frozen is definitely cheaper usually than fresh veg and its handy to have in the freezer, and theres less waste as you just take what you need each time without any remaining spoiling. I saw a programme on tv recently and it showed that fruit and veg goes from field to being frozen in a matter of hours, so i can see that it could be more nutritious than fresh that has gone through the packaging, transport and storage process.
    I think its really just personal taste. If on cooking the veg it didn’t differ in texture so much from that of fresh i would probably buy more frozen as its far more convienient:)

    Like

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