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Frozen fruit and vegetables may be more nutritious than fresh: Research

4 comments

By Nathan Gray+

11-Oct-2013
Last updated on 21-Dec-2013 at 14:08 GMT

Frozen fruit and vegetables may be more nutritious than fresh

Frozen fruit and vegetables may contain higher levels of essential vitamins and potentially healthy antioxidants than their fresh counterparts, according to new research.

Two new studies investigating the nutritional content of the most commonly bought supermarket fruit and vegetables have revealed that frozen products have higher levels of certain vitamins and some antioxidants than their fresh counterparts - after three days of storage. The analyses of more than 40 tests revealed that in 66% of cases fruit and vegetables that had higher nutritional levels of vitamins and antioxidant-type compounds after storage – including Vitamin C, polyphenols, anthocyanins, lutein and beta-carotene.

“Our data concluded that the concentrations of antioxidant compounds measured in frozen resembled those observed in corresponding fresh produce prior to refrigerated storage," explained Professor Graham Bonwick from the University of Chester - who led one of the studies.

"However, unlike frozen, some fresh produce concentrations exhibited a decrease during refrigerated storage to levels below those observed in the corresponding frozen produce," he said. "The effects were most noticeable in soft fruits.”

Both of the independent reports were commissioned by the British Frozen Food Federation, and were carried out by researchers at Leatherhead Food Research and the University of Chester.

Dr Rachel Burch of Leatherhead Food Research - author of the second study - said the results "demonstrate that frozen can be nutritionally comparable to ‘fresh’ produce."

"We must disregard the mistaken opinion that ‘fresh’ food is always better for us than frozen food,” she said.

Study details

The two studies involved researchers purchasing fresh and frozen fruit and vegetable samples from each of the four main UK supermarket chains. The team then stored each product for three days - as might be the situation for a consumer who conducts a bi-weekly shop.

After storage, the researchers prepared composite samples from each produce type and analysed each sample for antioxidant-type compounds including : vitamin C, polyphenols, anthocyanins, lutein and beta- carotene.

 

Vitamin C

Total Polyphenols

Lutein

Beta-Carotene

Anthocyanins

Broccoli

Fozen

Fresh

Frozen

Frozen

n/a

Carrots

Frozen

Frozen

Frozen

Frozen

n/a

Brussels sprouts

Frozen

n/a

Frozen

Frozen

n/a

Spinach

Fresh

Fresh

Frozen

Frozen

n/a

Peas

Comparable

Frozen

Frozen

Fresh

Frozen

Green Beans

Frozen

Frozen

Comparable

n/a

Frozen

Cauliflower

Fresh

Frozen

n/a

n/a

Frozen

Sweetcorn

Frozen

Frozen

n/a

n/a

Frozen

Blueberries

Frozen

Frozen

Fresh

Fresh

Frozen

Raspberries

Comparable

Fresh

Frozen

Frozen

Frozen

4 comments (Comments are now closed)

frozen and fresh

There is no quantitative data presented! in each category.

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Posted by Narasimhan Srinivasan
14 October 2013 | 04h56

"Fresh" means 3 days old?

Given that a majority of people buy their "fresh" F&V from a supermarket or shop where the produce is probably at least 3 days old, the comparison seems relevant to me. However, for those who are able to use home grown F&V or are able to access fresh from a local grower, it is a pity the study appears not to have included freshly harvested produce. Then we'd be able to see whether or not washing, blanching and freezing have any effects on nutrient levels compared with just-harvested produce.

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Posted by Nigel Larsen
13 October 2013 | 23h58

IMPOSSIBLE FOR UNTAMPERED FROZEN F&V to be more NUTRITIOUS than FRESH

Do kindly release the details of ALL those involved including their documents.

Report abuse

Posted by Stella H Howell
13 October 2013 | 11h49

Read all comments (4)

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