Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

Many people think that all fresh fruits and vegetables contain 
more nutrients than cooked ones, but a study in the Journal of 
Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports that cooked, pureed carrots 
have higher levels of antioxidants than fresh carrots. Cooking 
carrots in the presence of a small amount of fat increases the 
amount of two antioxidants called beta carotene and phenolic acid. 
Cooking breaks the plant cells open to increase the absorption of 
these antioxidants and other beneficial plant chemicals. Adding 
fat increases absorption of fat soluble chemicals. 

Cooking and adding fat also increase absorption of lycopene from 
tomatoes. Fresh fruits and vegetables usually are loaded with 
phytochemicals that help to keep you healthy, but those frozen soon 
after harvest may have higher levels of phytochemicals than those 
that take days or weeks to be transported to your supermarket. 
Frozen and cooked vegetables may be just as healthful as fresh ones. 
I recommend eating the widest possible variety of fruits and 
vegetables, raw or cooked, and fresh, frozen, canned or dried.

August, 2000. the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 

Checked 5/3/07