Are Fresh Or Frozen Fruits & Vegetables Better For You?

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can make you a happier person. But does it matter whether they are fresh or frozen?

So the grocery aisles have been cleared out thanks to panic-buyers and you’re wondering what you can buy that will keep your gains on the go during this time.

I’m sure you’re wondering whether you should opt for fresh fruits and vegetables – or just go the convenient route and buy frozen? You’re in luck: Both frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables retain their nutrients, according to a study from the University of Georgia.

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Researchers analysed the nutrient content of eight fruits and vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, peas, green beans, spinach, blueberries, and strawberries) at six different seasonal points throughout two years. They split the produce into three different groups: Fresh, fresh-stored (meaning it sat in the fridge for five days), and frozen.

Related: You Probably Don’t Need to Eat As Many Fruits and Vegetables As You Think

In a majority of their comparisons, the researchers found no significant difference in the nutrient content – specifically vitamin C, provitamin A, and total folate – of the fruits and vegetables. When there were differences, frozen produce was actually more likely to retain its nutrients than fresh-stored, the researchers found.

That’s because fruits and vegetables produce enzymes that quickly lead to spoiling of nutrients. Freezing them puts that process on hold, which keeps all the nutrients packed tight until you’re ready to eat them, says Registered Dietician Carolyn Brown, a nutritionist who is not affiliated with the study.

Related: Should You Cut Down On Fruit If You’re Trying to Lose Weight?

So it’s doesn’t really matter whether you prefer fresh or frozen, as long as you’re actually incorporating enough fruits and vegetables into your meals. Getting enough produce is one of the easiest way to increase your intake of vitamins and minerals that are crucial for your brain health, immune system, skin, muscles, and more, says Brown.

But nearly 90 percent of Americans don’t eat the recommended 2-3 cups of vegetables daily, according to a 2013 study from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and about 80 percent of people don’t eat enough fruit, which is about 2 cups a day for most people.

Related: Do You Really Need to Wash Fruit Before You Eat It? We Found Out

When taste and texture really matter – say, on top of your oats or as a salad topper – fresh fruit can be a better option, says Brown.

But if you’re on a budget and frequently find yourself without time to prep from scratch, frozen fruit and vegetables can be a huge time-saver.

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