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

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