There may be nothing better tasting or more satisfyingly healthy than a fresh-picked piece of fruit right off of the tree. When a fruit is first picked, it is at its nutritional high point. This is why we are always told that fresh food is the best food. However, this isn’t the whole story for commercial produce shoppers. Don’t despair if you don’t live on orchard; Dr. Steven Pratt of Super Foods RX reports that frozen berries have all the benefits of fresh.
Because of the distance between farms and consumers, most food must travel for a long time before it reaches its destination. Because of this long travel time, produce is often picked before the peak of its ripeness so it will not be overripe by the time it reaches the store. This method minimizes damage to the produce because unripe fruits and vegetables are firmer and less sensitive to bruising than ripe produce. It also means the food is subjected to great amounts of heat and light along its trip. Combined with the preemptive harvesting (produce at the peak of freshness has more nutritional value), these factors cause a loss in nutritional value.
On the other hand, frozen foods are picked at the peak of their freshness. They are then blanched, which is a sterilizing process where a food is briefly boiled, then immediately frozen. While produce will lose some nutrients to this process, in the end the nutrition content will be similar to fresh produce. Further, frozen produce makes it possible to eat out of season foods that are impossible to find fresh, which can help consumers build a balanced diet out of their favorite fruits and vegetables no matter the time of year.
Whatever the method, the important thing is to choose healthy fruits, vegetables, and natural foods from the food pyramid to balance out your daily food guide.
- “Fresh vs. Frozen”, SuperFoodsRX
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