Nutrition from vegetables: fresh or cooked

Asked March 30, 2019, 12:54 PM EDT

Howdy! I understand that fresh vegetables are more nutritious, and raw vegetables are generally more nutritious than cooked. But how about the nutritional content of cooked vegetables? Does the nutritional content degrade while cooked veggies are stored in the fridge? Thanks for your help!

Washington County Oregon

2 Responses


In answer to your first question, raw or cooked? we need both. For instance, fresh fruits and veggies provide us with antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, and B vitamins, which can be lost with cooking. For example, raw salad greens equates to a 26% reduction in heart disease. Water-soluble vitamins (vit C and all the B vitamins) can be lost in water during cooking.

But there are also those nutrients like lycopene found in tomatoes and beta-carotene from carrots/sweet potatoes which increase in bioavailability with cooking.

Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K) are less affected by cooking/storing.

As to the second part of your question, yes, nutrients deteriorate in food over time in the fridge. You will get less deterioration in the freezer. Many of our nutrients are lost through exposure to light and oxygen. So keep veggies in the darker drawers, away from the heat of the fridge bulb, and never in the door. Tomatoes are the exception and can be held at room temperature until they are cut after which they must be refrigerated.

Cooked vegetables will deteriorate faster than raw so use within 4 days of cooking. Make sure your fridge is 40 degrees or colder. Fridge thermometers are inexpensive and will save you money by preserving your fresh vegetables at the right temperatures.

Other tips:

  • Keep the skins on vegetables & fruits when possible
  • Avoid slicing in advance
  • Avoid storing onions with potatoes. Instead, store potatoes with apples to keep them from sprouting
  • Soak berries in 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water in fridge
  • Store greens in a bag with a little air circulation
  • Wrap celery, broccoli and lettuce in aluminum foil
  • Refrigerate mushrooms in paper and not plastic bags
  • Store asparagus upright in a jar with stems in water. Place bag loosely over the top and refrigerate
I hope you find this helpful.

Thanks for your prompt and illuminating response!