Both fresh and frozen fruit are great additions to your diet. But some fruits may benefit more from being fresh instead of frozen and vice versa. Learn more about how to choose between fresh and frozen fruit.
Health Impacts of Fruit
If you eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, you benefit from such effects as:
- Lowering your blood pressure
- Reducing your risk for heart disease or stroke
- Preventing some kinds of cancer
- Lowering your risk for eye and digestive problems
- Improving your blood sugar levels
- Aiding in weight management or weight loss
Benefits of Frozen Fruit and Fresh Fruit
Depending on the fruit, some may retain more nutrients frozen while others are better fresh. Nutrients in fruit are at their peak right after being picked. Because fruit is frozen quickly, it retains nutritional value.
If your fresh fruit is truly fresh, the nutrient value may be similar. If your fresh fruit was shipped and sat on store shelves for a while, it may contain fewer nutrients.
When you consider all of the variables, the health benefits of fresh and frozen fruit are very similar. Still, there are some differences that make each one beneficial in unique ways.
Frozen fruit. When fruit is frozen, it is picked at the peak of ripeness and flash-frozen soon after to preserve the optimal nutrition benefits. Frozen fruit often lasts several months and may be more economical than buying fresh fruit that goes bad quicker. With frozen fruit, you can take out as many pieces as you need and leave the rest for next time.
Frozen fruit is also beneficial because it is already prepped for you. It usually comes cleaned and presliced for your convenience. This may save you time when making dishes that contain fruit.
Similarly, frozen fruit is great for adding to yogurt and smoothies. Just grab a handful of strawberry slices, for example, and toss them into your bowl of yogurt or your blender and enjoy your snack. If fruits you love to include in these dishes are out of season, they may still be available frozen.
Fresh fruit. When you choose fresh fruit, it is often in season and more versatile than frozen fruit. Freezing may impact the texture of your fruit when it thaws, but fresh fruit retains its natural texture better.
One benefit to fresh fruit is that you can usually find it when it’s in season. There are plenty of food guides online to tell you what's in season and when. By purchasing in-season fruits, you avoid the risk of fruits that rely on fertilizers or additives in order to grow out of season.
Risks of Frozen Fruit and Fresh Fruit
The benefits of fruit outweigh the risks, but that doesn’t mean risks don’t exist. For starters, some fruit contains a lot of sugar, which may be dangerous for people with a diabetes diagnosis. They may also contain harmful germs such as:
- E. coli
In fact, the CDC estimates that a large percentage of all foodborne illnesses, or food poisoning, in the U.S. comes from fresh produce not being cleaned properly before it's eaten. The safest way to eat produce is by cooking it to kill germs, but most of the time fruit is not cooked before being eaten.
Instead, you should be sure to wash your produce well before eating it. Scrub the skin and ensure that individual pieces are all rinsed thoroughly. You can rinse your produce when you bring it home from the store or wait to rinse it in individual portions when you're ready to use it.
Other ways to reduce your risk for foodborne illnesses include:
- Choosing fruit that isn’t bruised or damaged
- Refrigerating fruit that you purchase precut or fruit that you slice and store at home, because this reduces bacteria growth
- Keeping your fruit separate from other items such as veggies, meat, and dairy in your shopping cart
- Cleaning all of your food preparation surfaces to ensure you don’t transfer bacteria to or from the fruit
- Using running water to clean your fruit and wash away bacteria
- Not using disinfectant soap or bleach on your produce
- Drying your fruit off with a paper towel or clean dish towel immediately after washing
- Cutting off any damaged or bruised parts of your fruit before eating it
Keep in mind that some people are naturally at a higher risk for suffering from foodborne illnesses. Factors include:
- Being 65 or older
- Being younger than five
- Having some health problems
- Taking medication that lowers your body’s immune response
- Being pregnant