Is Frozen Fruit Healthy?

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Frozen fruits and vegetables may account for over 22 million tons of frozen products by the year 2015, as indicated in a report by the firm Global Industry Analysts and reported by PRWeb. Although not as popular as frozen vegetables, frozen fruit sales may increase because of the convenience and year-round availability. If you are trying to include more fruit into your diet, using the right types of frozen fruit is healthy and nutritious.

Types and Recommended Intake

You can find many types of frozen fruit in your grocery store. Peaches, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, papaya, cranberries, cherries and apples are just some of the varieties of frozen fruit available. All fruit, whether fresh, frozen or canned, falls under the fruit group. The average adult requires between one and one half servings to two servings of fruit daily. Needs vary depending on age and overall health.

Processing

Manufacturers must work quickly to preserve as much flavor, texture and nutrition as possible in the frozen fruits. Generally, freezing fruit requires a multiple step approach. First, a manufacturer washes the fruit. Next, the manufacturer generally applies a chemical compound such as ascorbic acid that stops the enzymes in the fruit from continuing to ripen, according to the University of New Mexico Extension. Finally, the fruit undergoes the flash-freezing process, which quickly freezes the fruit without damage. If the manufacturer freezes the fruit without a sweetener, the calories remain similar to fresh fruit.

Nutrients

Frozen fruits retain the majority of their nutrients after the freezing process, although fruits may experience a loss of vitamin C, according to Ohio State University Extension’s registered dietitian Julie Shertzer. Additionally, in contrast to fruits allowed to ripen off the vine like you see in many grocery stores, fruits that manufacturers select to freeze are ripe and ready to eat. A 1 cup serving of fresh strawberries has 46 calories, a trace of fat, 2.9 g of fiber and 7 g of natural sugars. In comparison, a 1 cup serving of frozen, unsweetened strawberries has 52 calories, a trace of fat, 3.1 g of fiber and 7 g of naturally occurring sugar, according to the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory. A cup of frozen strawberries has 61 mg of vitamin C, while the fresh strawberries have 84 mg.

Cautions

Before picking up a bag, container or box of frozen fruit, read the label to ensure the fruit has no added sugars. Many frozen fruit products contain refined sugar for added sweetness. The added sweetness comes at a price in terms of calories, as 1 tsp. of sugar has about 16 calories. For example, 1 cup of frozen blueberries with no added sugar has 13 g of natural sugar and 79 calories. A cup of sweetened, frozen blueberries has 186 calories and 45 g of sugar, 32 g of which are added sugars. Most package labels indicate added sugars by the words “sweetened” or “lightly sweetened” on the front panel of the package. If you enjoy sweetened fruit, look for frozen fruits that use an artificial sweetener instead of white, granulated sugar.

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