If you haven’t heard by now, eating fruits and veggies—specifically two cups of fruit and three cups of vegetables per day—is an easy way to get most of the daily essential nutrients and fiber, along with lowering your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, which can lead to heart attack and stroke, diabetes, some cancers, and obesity. But, unfortunately, most people don’t even get close to that amount every day—some complain about cost or taste, and the often brief amount of time they last once you get them home from the store.
Frozen fruits and vegetables, however, are usually quickly frozen within a few hours after harvesting, allowing less degradation of vitamins and minerals compared to fresh produce, which has to sit on a truck and then get stocked in a store—all while the slow process of decay is taking place.
But the ubiquitous frozen produce has become a boon for getting people to eat their fruits and veggies more, says a new study presented at the Experimental Biology annual meeting in Chicago. Researchers looked at data from 2011 to 2014 data via the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and found that—compared to people who didn’t eat frozen fruits or veggies—those who did had an overall higher total of all fruit and vegetable consumption, had much higher intakes of essential nutrients like potassium, calcium, vitamin D, and fiber, plus had a significantly lower body mass index.
“At a time when Americans are only eating half of the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables, our research shows that eating frozen fruits and vegetables can help fill the gap in fruit and vegetable consumption,” said study co-author Maureen Storey, Ph.D. “In addition to increased consumption of nutrients of concern, frozen fruit and vegetable consumers also had a higher intake of vitamins A and C.”