Are frozen veges as good as fresh?
New Zealand’s favourite wellbeing expert answers readers’ questions about their health.
Question: I’m wondering if frozen vegetables are as good for you as fresh vegetables? I often have them on hand in case I need to bulk out a meal. Thanks, Danielle.
Hi Danielle, nutritionally frozen vegetables actually have virtually the same, if not slightly more nutrition than fresh vegetables. When vegetables are picked, they begin to lose nutrients, so how long they’re left after harvesting impacts their nutritional value (however, not their fibre content). This is just one of the reasons why it’s fantastic to buy produce from local farmers’ markets, as opposed to purchasing produce from overseas that has been kept in cold store and travelled for thousands of miles. Because generally frozen vegetables are frozen shortly after they’re harvested, they’re allowed to fully ripen, which means they contain good levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The freezing process actually in a way ‘‘locks in’’ many of these nutrients. I prefer to buy fresh local produce – but having frozen vegetables on hand can make a great and costeffective addition to many meals. Question: I have been reading about preservatives and additives and would like to remove them from my child’s diet, as I’ve noticed a change in his behaviour after consuming them. What do you think? Thanks, Chrissy.
Contrary to what many parents think, food additives can influence children’s behaviour. The reactions they can experience are related to dose, so the more additives children eat, the more likely they are to be affected (think of the reaction many children have after a birthday party versus everyday food consumption). Additives are now used widely in foods such as bread, spreads, crackers, yoghurt, juice and muesli bars as well as in many takeaway foods. Parents who say ‘‘we eat healthy food’’ are often surprised to find that their children can be consuming 20 additives or more per day. The first step to exploring whether or not they’re something you want your children to have is to begin to understand them.
Children now more than ever are suffering from food intolerances. A food intolerance is a reaction to a food, or a food Email your questions for Dr Libby to email@example.com. Please note, only a selection of questions can be answered.
chemical – whether naturally occurring (e.g. salicylates, amines, glutamate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), or artificially added (e.g. preservatives, colours, flavours). People who are sensitive to natural food chemicals are also very likely to be sensitive to food additives such as artificial colours, flavours and added preservatives.
The easiest way to avoid additives or preservatives is to reduce your consumption of processed and bought/packaged foods as they tend to be used to increase the shelf-life and/or appearance of a product. There are more and more food companies are bringing out options without additives and preservatives, it’s just a matter of researching them and reading the labels.
Dr Libby is a nutritional biochemist, speaker and author. The advice in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional.
Vegetables are allowed to fully ripen before being frozen, which means they contain good levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.