Are Fresh or Frozen Fruits and 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?

Ever wonder when should you 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 recent study from the University of Georgia.

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

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.

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.

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

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 Carolyn Brown, M.S., R.D., a nutritionist who is not affiliated with the study.

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.

Related: The Fruit That Lowers Blood Sugar

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.

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

Related: 5 Easy, Tasty Salads You’ll Want To Make This Summer

But if you’re on a budget and frequently find yourself flying out the door in the morning, frozen fruit and vegetables can be a huge time-saver.

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