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Harvard Medical School
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General Medical Questions
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Question : Do frozen fruits and vegetables have the same nutritional value as fresh?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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August 08, 2014
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Very fresh fruits and vegetables are best. They have the greatest quantity and variety of nutrients. But they need to be eaten soon after picking to get the full value.

Vitamins and other nutrients may be lost when produce sits on the supermarket shelf or in your refrigerator before being eaten. That means unless you buy fruits and vegetables harvested locally — and recently — the ones you eat may contain fewer vitamins and phytonutrients than you think.

Researchers from the University of California Davis compared fresh to frozen.

Here’s what they found:

  • The carbohydrate, protein, fiber, and mineral content are similar between fresh and frozen.
  • Frozen produce may contain more vitamins and phytonutrients than days-old fresh items.
  • Fresh produce can lose half of its vitamins and other nutrients during storage or cooking. But so can frozen.

For taste and nutrient quality, you can’t beat recently fresh-picked local produce. But if fresh produce is unavailable, out of season, or beyond your budget, frozen products provide plenty of nutrition.

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