If you’re like me, you feel like people give you the stink-eye when you shop in the frozen food section of the grocery store, especially if you have kids. Interestingly enough, an article in the Daily Mail notes that two, new, independent studies (University of Chester and Leatherhood Food Research) back the notion others have posed in the past – frozen food can actually be packed with more nutrients than “fresh” food.
In two out of three cases, frozen fruits and vegetables were found to have more antioxidant-type compounds, which include Vitamin C, polyphenols, anthocyanins, lutein, and beta-carotene.
As the article notes, antioxidants are helpful in cancer prevention and supporting brain, body, skin, and eye function.
The cold, hard truth is that supermarkets try to make you think their high-priced produce is the best for you, and some stores will even mist them to give them a “just picked” look. In reality, the veggies and fruit may have been in storage for a month. During this time, nutrients in these foods deteriorate. On the other hand, frozen vegetables and fruit are chilled shortly after harvest and, thus, retain higher levels of the antioxidants and vitamins.
The bottom line of the studies' findings is that just-picked fresh items are best but, since that isn’t realistic for many people, frozen might almost be the better option. This was especially true for frozen broccoli and frozen carrots, the latter of which had three times the lutein and double the beta-carotene in it's frozen form.
As British Frozen Food Association director general Brian Young said, “Fast and highly organised methods of ‘harvest-to-freeze’ have evolved with the express purpose of minimising nutrient losses.”
Take that, stink-eye givers!