The Pros and Cons of Frozen Foods

The Pros and Cons of Frozen Foods

Image courtesy of markuso at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of markuso at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Our modern lifestyle does not give us a lot of time to prepare healthy and nutritious meals that mainly consists of fresh vegetables and other high-quality products. To find a convenient and fast solution, many of us reach out for frozen foods, thinking that it is a healthy choice; at least, better than junk food. But, how healthy are frozen foods? According to nutritionists, frozen foods represent the safest in terms of contamination with bacteria or fungi. Fresh foods that we keep in refrigerators are much more prone to microbial and fungal infection. Nutritionists also consider frozen foods a healthier choice when comparing with canned or jarred foods. In fact, this is only true for frozen fruits and vegetables preserved without additional additives and other chemicals. Interestingly, some nutritionists think that, in many cases, frozen foods can be even better than fresh foods. The excerpt from the article “Fresh vs. Frozen Vegetables: Are We Giving up Nutrition for Convenience?” explains the reason for that attitude on frozen foods.Fruits and vegetables chosen for freezing tend to be processed at their peak ripeness, a time when—as a general rule—they are most nutrient-packed.

The Pros and Cons of Frozen Foods

While the first step of freezing vegetables—blanching them in hot water or steam to kill bacteria and arrest the action of food-degrading enzymes—causes some water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and the B vitamins to break down or leach out, the subsequent flash-freeze locks the vegetables in a relatively nutrient-rich state.

On the other hand, fruits and vegetables destined to be shipped to the fresh-produce aisles around the country typically are picked before they are ripe, which gives them less time to develop a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Outward signs of ripening may still occur, but these vegetables will never have the same nutritive value as if they had been allowed to fully ripen on the vine. In addition, during the long haul from farm to fork, fresh fruits and vegetables are exposed to lots of heat and light, which degrade some nutrients, especially delicate vitamins like C and the B vitamin thiamin.

As we have seen, frozen foods can sometimes represent the healthiest choice, even healthier than fresh foods. Moreover, frozen foods become a good alternative in winter, when off-season fruits and vegetables’ prices grow rapidly. Not only frozen foods are cost effective, but are very nutritious. However, nutritionists warn us not to opt for frozen foods that are packed in syrup or dressed with cheese or some other sauce. That food is rich in empty calories, saturated fat, sodium, and additives. These foods can taste good, but also contain many chemicals. To make a healthy choice, we should opt for frozen fruits and vegetables packed in bags with listed ingredients of the same fruits and vegetables only.

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