One of the things I ask my clients when i am reviewing their food diary is are veggies fresh or frozen?
This is a fine line so we’ll consider all the pros and cons for both. I am of the opinion that fresh is always best, but how do we determine that aspect along with vitamins, nutrients and enzymes when we are making the decision to buy fresh or frozen?
Vitamins: from the moment fruit and vegies are picked they are losing valuable nutrients.
Frozen food is picked at the time of maximum ripeness for its peak nutritional content.
Fresh commercial fruit and vegies are picked prior to ripeness for transportation around the country and storage on market shelves.
A recent test conducted by the University of Western Sydney has concluded that there is very little difference between vitamins and minerals in fresh and frozen vegies. Fresh vegetables had higher amounts of calcium and potassium, whereas vitamin C in the frozen vegies proved to have almost twice as much as the fresh produce.
Enzymes: All fruit and vegetables are packed with digestive enzymes, which are harmed when cooked.
Frozen vegies are flash blanched in hot water to kill germs and bugs before snap freezing. This process can destroy the enzymes that our bodies need to digest the food and take in the nutrients.
Fresh food you can eat raw, or have control over the way you cook it to maximize the health benefits.
Other things to take into consideration between the two are:
Where is the food coming from? Companies that produce frozen vegies are about profits. In our supermarket freezer I am seeing more products coming out of overseas countries such as China and Vietnam, which means that they do not have to comply with Australian agricultural standards of farming. We have no idea what pesticides or fertilisers they are using, and at what levels.
The alternative option is locally produced fresh fruit and veg bought from the local farmers market. Not only are you supporting Aussie farmers, you also have a closer connection to the food chain.
In summary, I am still of the opinion that fresh is always best, taking into account the following considerations:
— Buy locally grown produce, and organic where possible, for maximum vitamins, nutrients and enzymes.
— Shop at least weekly for your fruit and vegies.
— Grow your own.
By Tanya Gendle
Strive Holistic Personal Training.