Are frozen vegetables healthy and good for you?
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Are frozen vegetables healthy and good for you?

30th July 2019

Studies have shown that frozen vegetables are high in nutrition and compare well to fresh vegetables. Vegetables for freezing purposes are picked at peak ripeness which is when they have the highest nutritional values. Frozen vegetables are healthy and a good part of a balanced diet. However there are more important factors to consider when answering the question which is better, frozen or fresh vegetables.

Picture of a green coriander leaf

Fresh vegetables

Fresh vegetables for large scale supply are picked slightly pre-maturely to ensure they appear fresher for longer. Unfortunately unripe vegetables have a lower nutritional value compared to ripe vegetables.

Vegetables may spend a couple of days in transit and in re-distribution centres before hitting the shelves. It might take a couple more days before its bought and a couple more days before it gets eaten. Transportation vehicles may not be storing the spinach at low enough temperatures to ensure high nutritional values when it hits the stores.

A study investigating the nutritional quality of spinach found that storing fresh spinach in the fridge slows down nutrient loss compared to when its kept it in warmer temperatures. Even in the fridge 8 day old fresh spinach will have lost half of its folate content.

Store all vegetables in the fridge and eat as quickly as possible

What about frozen vegetables?

Unlike fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables can be picked at their peak ripeness. However investigators found no real significant difference in nutritional values between most fresh and frozen vegetables. There are exceptions vegetables such as green peas, green beans and spinach showed slightly higher vitamin content when frozen. Mineral content between frozen and vegetables showed no significant difference.

Some vegetables have higher nutritional values than their fresh counterparts. However, overall the difference is insignificant.

Red chili peppers

Complexity of nutritional composition

There are other factors than freezing that affect nutritional values of vegetables. The biggest factors influencing nutrition values comes down to the type of vegetable, what temperature and humidity its kept at after harvesting and during transport and when the vegetable gets consumed. Soil quality and farming practices have a huge effect as well.

How to buy the most nutritious produce?

Frozen vegetables are healthy and good for you. However ultimately whether you should buy frozen or fresh vegetables comes down to the quality of the produce you are able to buy.

Vegetables that are local, and picked a day or two ago bought from a farmers market will be the most nutritious produce you can buy. Instead of buying old looking and wilted produce you should opt for frozen instead.

It is also important to eat the produce as quickly as possible.

Why we love frozen vegetables

Frozen vegetables are cheap and most importantly they don’t go off if you forget to eat them. They are basically ready to go as no chopping or prep is involved.

Roasted broccoli or cauliflower made from frozen produce is almost indistinguishable from its fresh counterpart. Frozen peas are quick to cook and taste delicious.

Make sure to cook frozen vegetables thoroughly to eliminate any serious foodborne illnesses.

Buying the freshest and highest quality vegetables will ensure the best nutritional composition. It’s good to know that frozen vegetables are a good option when that isn’t possible.