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Consumers have been eating frozen foods for years and it is only natural that the question “is frozen food as healthy as fresh food” should arise. If you’ve been wondering if you should choose fresh over frozen, you’ll be happy to know that the answer is “yes, they do have more or less the same nutritional value”. The process behind each one is different and understanding the process they go through before they arrive at the farmer’s market or the store freezer is important.
Fresh food can refer to fruits, vegetables and meats. When fruits and veggies are picked or dug up from the ground, they are not completely ripe. The produce is collected at a stage where it is almost ripe but still full of nutrients. From the soil or tree, it is then cleaned and shipped. Foods are gathered and shipped at this stage of their development because it guarantees consumers picture-perfect products. Unfortunately, during shipping and importation, these foods are exposed to sunlight, which dissolves sensitive minerals and vitamins like Vitamin B and C. So even though the fruits and vegetables you buy look perfect on the shelves, there were some nutrients lost in the process of getting them there.
Frozen food, on the other hand, is also picked, dug and collected at the same growth stage, when it is not entirely ripe. From that point onwards, it goes through blanching. Blanching is when food is boiled for a specific time at a strict temperature. This is for sterilization purposes. As the food is sterilized through blanching, it loses some of its nutrients as well, some of which include vitamin B and C. Foods are then frozen quickly, packaged and sent to manufacturers and stores.
Is frozen food as healthy as fresh food as far as meat is concerned? Meat is not as sensitive to nutrient loss as fruits and vegetables and is likely to be as nutrient-loaded whether it’s bought straight from the butcher or frozen.
Advantages of fresh food
It is fair to mention that fresh food has an advantage over frozen food because of the extra loss of nutrients during reheating. However, fresh food can also lose its value if it is prepared in certain ways. The best way to prepare your vegetables is to steam them instead of boiling. This is because vitamins and minerals can easily be drained and left inside water after boiling.
Another point where it’s possible to answer no to the question “is frozen food as healthy as fresh food” is when it comes to taste. The longer frozen food stays in your freezer and then boiled, the worse it tastes. Fresh foods do not lose their taste but flavors might be altered because of the loss of vitamins and if they start to rot if they sit on the shelves for too long.
The debate about whether fresh food is as healthy as frozen food has been concluded by the FDA. Yes, they do contain more or less the same nutritional value regardless of the differences in transportation and processing.