Is frozen spinach as healthy as fresh spinach? Based on it being less desirable and cheaper, you would assume the frozen version must be less nutritious. What would you do if we told you the opposite... that the fresh is less healthy than frozen?
The ORAC value, which measures total antioxidants, is actually lower for the fresh version versus the frozen (1513 vs. 1687). That may seem bizarre but there's a good reason for it. When fresh produce is harvested, some antioxidants begin to degrade over time. By the time it reaches the supermarket, that degradation can be a little or a lot depending on the specific fruit of vegetable (they all degrade differently). When you buy frozen, you're typically buying something that was frozen within 24 hours of harvest. That prevents the degradation experienced with the fresh varieties. We're not claiming that frozen tastes better but it would be a lie to claim that frozen is less nutritious!
USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2 - Prepared by Nutrient Data Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - May 2010