Frozen food: Nutrient-rich?
General Nutrition • • 1 minute to read • By Zainab Cutlerywala, INFS Faculty
Author: Zainab Cutlerywala
Frozen foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, and dairy, may be a quick and economical method to include healthy items from every food category.
Frozen foods might be beneficial for people who have limited kitchen space or tools, in addition to saving time. Frozen meals are not only more cost-effective, but they also help to reduce food waste.
Frozen Food and Fresh Produce:
Fruit and vegetables that are frozen are usually gathered at their pinnacle of freshness. Within a few hours of being collected, they are cleaned, blanched, frozen, and packed.
Fruits are rarely blanched since it alters their texture significantly. To keep them from rotting, they can be treated with ascorbic acid (a kind of vitamin C) or sugar.
In most cases, no chemicals are added to product before it is frozen.
The majority of fresh fruits and vegetables are plucked before they reach their full ripeness. This gives them enough time to completely develop while being transported.They have less time to generate a broad variety of vitamins, minerals, and natural antioxidants as a result.
Fresh food is usually kept in a cold, controlled environment and treated with chemicals to keep it from rotting during transit. Fruits and vegetables may be on display for an extra 1–3 days once they arrive at the shop. They're then kept in people's homes for up to seven days till they are eaten.
Processes before freezing and its effects:
In general, freezing fruits and vegetables helps to preserve their nutritious value.
When frozen produce is kept for longer than a year, some nutrients begin to degrade.
During the blanching process, certain nutrients are also lost. In reality, this is the time when the most nutrients are lost.
Prior to freezing, the produce is blanched by submerging it in boiling water for a brief period of time — generally a few minutes.
This destroys any hazardous germs while still preserving the flavour, colour, and texture of the food. However, it causes a loss of water-soluble substances including B vitamins and vitamin C.
This does not apply to frozen fruits, which do not go through the blanching process.
Depending on the type of vegetable and the period of blanching, the amount of nutrients lost varies. Losses typically vary from 10% to 80%, with averages of approximately 50%.
Blanching peas and spinach lowered water-soluble antioxidant activity by 30% and 50%, respectively, according to one research. Nonetheless, upon storage at 4° F (20° C), levels remained unchanged.
Despite the loss of water-soluble vitamins, some study shows that frozen fruit may preserve its antioxidant potential.
Fresh versus Frozen food:
The findings of research comparing the nutritious content of frozen versus fresh food differ slightly.
This is due to the fact that some studies utilise freshly picked material, which eliminates the effects of storage and transportation time, whilst others use stored produce.
Differences in processing and measurement procedures might also have an impact on the outcome. However, data shows that freezing preserves nutrient value and that the nutritional composition of fresh and frozen vegetables is comparable.
When studies do find nutritional reductions in frozen vegetables, they are usually minor.
Furthermore, fresh and frozen vegetables have equivalent quantities of vitamin A, carotenoids, vitamin E, minerals, and fibre. Blanching usually has little effect on them.
Peas, green beans, and carrots, for example, have been compared to frozen variety in studies they had similar antioxidants and nutrients in them.
Fruits and vegetables harvested fresh from the farm or from your own garden are of the greatest quality.
If you're buying at the supermarket, however, frozen vegetables may be just as nutritious as fresh produce, if not more so. Frozen fruit and vegetables are, at the end of the day, a practical and cost-effective alternative to fresh ones.
To receive the most variety of nutrients, use a combination of fresh and frozen fruit.
Bouzari, A., Holstege, D., & Barrett, D. M. (2015). Mineral, fiber, and total phenolic retention in eight fruits and vegetables: a comparison of refrigerated and frozen storage. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 63 (3), 951–956. https://doi.org/10.1021/JF504890K
Phillips, K. M., Tarragó-Trani, M. T., Gebhardt, S. E., Exler, J., Patterson, K. Y., Haytowitz, D. B., Pehrsson, P. R., & Holden, J. M. (2010). Stability of vitamin C in frozen raw fruit and vegetable homogenates. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis : An Official Publication of the United Nations University, International Network of Food Data Systems, 23 (3), 253–259. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.JFCA.2009.08.018
Rickman, J. C., Barrett, D. M., & Bruhn, C. M. (2007). Nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. Part 1. Vitamins C and B and phenolic compounds. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 87 (6), 930–944. https://doi.org/10.1002/JSFA.2825
Shofian, N. M., Hamid, A. A., Osman, A., Saari, N., Anwar, F., Dek, M. S. P., & Hairuddin, M. R. (2011). Effect of Freeze-Drying on the Antioxidant Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Selected Tropical Fruits. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 12 (7), 4678. https://doi.org/10.3390/IJMS12074678
Rickman, J. C., Bruhn, C. M., & Barrett, D. M. (2007). Nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables II. Vitamin A and carotenoids, vitamin E, minerals and fiber. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 87 (7), 1185–1196. https://doi.org/10.1002/JSFA.2824
The plan that has transformed 300,000+ lives and counting!
- Customized diet & workout plans
- Access to a full suite of smart tracking tools
- Join the world’s largest online fitness community
- Customer Satisfaction score of 95.5%
- Coaching in your local language for clear guidance
Get results or get your money back!