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What's the Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables?
Fruits and vegetables are universally promoted as healthy. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend you make one-half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables include a diverse group of plant foods that vary greatly in content of energy and nutrients.
Additionally, fruits and vegetables supply dietary fiber, and fiber intake is linked to lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and obesity. Fruits and vegetables also supply vitamins and minerals to the diet and are sources of phytochemicals that function as antioxidants, phytoestrogens, and antiinflammatory agents and through other protective mechanisms.
In this review, we describe the existing dietary guidance on intake of fruits and vegetables. We also review attempts to characterize fruits and vegetables into groups based on similar chemical structures and functions.
Differences among fruits and vegetables in nutrient composition are detailed. We summarize the epidemiological and clinical studies on the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. Finally, we discuss the role of fiber in fruits and vegetables in disease prevention.
Diets high in fruits and vegetables are widely recommended for their health-promoting properties. Fruits and vegetables have historically held a place in dietary guidance because of their concentrations of vitamins, especially vitamins C and A; minerals, especially electrolytes; and more recently phytochemicals, especially antioxidants. Additionally, fruits and vegetables are recommended as a source of dietary fiber.
Most countries have dietary recommendations that include fruits and vegetables. Table 1 summarizes the recommendations for 3 countries: Canada 1 , the United Kingdom 2 , and the United States 3. Although dietary recommendations have many similarities, different countries choose different strategies to separate fruits and vegetables into groups. Orange fruits and vegetables are often high in carotenoids and are placed in a separate category. Yet many dark green vegetables i. Dividing fruit and vegetables into color categories makes sense for menu planning but does not correspond with nutrient content.
Certain fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamin C, but these rich sources citrus fruits, strawberries, green peppers, white potatoes are spread over many fruit and vegetable categories. Other fruits and vegetables, including avocado, corn, potatoes, and dried beans, are rich in starch, whereas sweet potatoes are mostly sucrose, not starch.
Fruits except bananas and dark green vegetables contain little or no starch. Often, dietary guidance rules place fruit juices and potatoes in separate categories, because of dietary directives to eat whole fruits and minimize consumption of foods high in fat and sodium, i. The vegetable and fruit categories in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 3 are listed in Table 2.
These categories are important, because they drive policy for programs such as school lunch and other supplemental feeding programs. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans , nutrients of concern in the American diet include potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D. Energy density and intake are also important issues in the American diet.
Fruits and vegetables are generally low in energy density and often are good sources of fiber and potassium, but the nutritional contribution of standard servings of fruits and vegetables varies widely 4. The content of phytochemicals, such as polyphenolics, also varies greatly 5 and is not listed in nutrient databases. We have provided a nutritional comparison of the 10 most commonly consumed fruits and vegetables Table 3.
It should be noted that fruits and vegetables are often not consumed in the raw form but may be cooked, fried, or combined with other ingredients prior to consumption. Thus, whereas a boiled potato is a nutrient-dense food, a fried potato may contribute a substantial amount of fat and sodium to the diet. Fiber concentrations range from 0. Bananas and potatoes, although technically belonging to different families, have strikingly similar compositions for energy, fiber, and potassium per standard serving.
A standard serving of iceberg lettuce contains 8 kcal, whereas a potato contains kcal and a banana kcal. Of course, iceberg lettuce is seldom eaten alone. Most estimates of fruit and vegetable consumption are limited by disagreement on what constitutes a serving of a fruit or vegetable.
Marriott et al. Dietary fiber intake was particularly low in their analysis. Common serving sizes of fruits and vegetables contain 1—5 g of fiber. Most of the fiber in vegetables and fruits is insoluble fiber, except for citrus fruits Table 3. The importance of fiber for the normal function of the digestive system has been long appreciated. As the scientific support for a role for resistant carbohydrates not captured by the crude fiber method such as pectin, glucans, and oligosaccharides was published, additional analytical methods to measure more carbohydrates resistant to digestion and absorption were needed.
Accepted analytical methods to determine dietary fiber were then developed, especially because fiber was included on the Nutrition Facts panel. Nutrition Facts must include total dietary fiber TDF ; insoluble and soluble fiber also may be listed but are not required unless claims are made. Besides food manufacturers, epidemiologists, scientists, and dietitians need data on the fiber content of foods 8. Yet attempts to define and standardize methods to measure dietary fiber remain contentious.
Dietary fiber is essentially the undigested carbohydrates in the diet 9. These carbohydrates may be fermented in the large intestine, although some resistant fibers, such as purified cellulose, escape any fermentation, whereas other fibers, such as inulin or pectin, are completed broken down by bacteria in the colon. Most analytical schemes to measure dietary fiber are chemical and enzymatic extraction procedures. Because the TDF method does not isolate all undigested carbohydrates, especially short-chain oligosaccharides, other methods have been developed and accepted to quantitate these compounds.
Determining the solubility of fiber was an attempt to relate physiological effects to chemical types of fiber 9. Soluble fibers were considered to have beneficial effects on serum lipids and insoluble fibers were linked with laxation benefits. This division of soluble and insoluble fiber is still used in nutrition labeling. However, despite these commonly used generalizations, scientific evidence supporting that soluble fibers lower cholesterol and insoluble fibers increase stool weight is inconsistent.
Many fiber sources are mostly soluble but still enlarge stool weight, such as oat bran and psyllium. Also, soluble fibers such as inulin do not lower blood lipids. Most fruits and vegetables are concentrated in insoluble fiber, not soluble fiber Table 3. Exceptions to this generalization include cooked potatoes, oranges, and grapefruit. The USDA Nutrient Database includes only total fiber; there are no official databases that include soluble and insoluble fiber.
Lists of content of total, insoluble, and soluble fibers are compilations of data from the USDA, the published literature, and estimated values Often, the values for soluble and insoluble fiber do not add to total fiber or the values for soluble fiber were estimated by subtracting a literature value for insoluble fiber from a USDA value for total fiber. Not surprisingly, there is much discrepancy in the fiber concentrations for fruits and vegetables.
Processing can either increase or decrease the fiber content of a fruit or vegetable. Peeling fruits or vegetables will lower the fiber content A serving of grapefruit without any associated membrane contains much less fiber than a grapefruit serving with membranes 0.
Home cooking generally has a negligible effect on fiber content. Cooking, in general, may even increase the fiber content of a product if water is driven out in the cooking process. Baking or other heat treatments e. Fruit juices are not devoid of fiber Table 4. Increasingly, research indicates that additional properties, such as viscosity and fermentability, are important characteristics in terms of the physiological benefits of fiber Table 5.
Viscous fibers are those that have gel-forming properties in the intestinal tract, and fermentable fibers are those that can be metabolized by colonic bacteria. In general, soluble fibers are more completely fermented and have a higher viscosity than insoluble fibers. However, not all soluble fibers are viscous e. Fibers, like starches, are made mostly of many sugar units bonded together.
Unlike most starches, however, these bonds cannot be broken down by digestive enzymes and pass relatively intact into the large intestine. There, fiber can be fermented by the colonic microflora to gases such as hydrogen and carbon dioxide or it can pass through the large intestine and bind water, increasing stool weight.
Although fibers are not converted to glucose, some SCFA are produced in the gut as fibers are fermented. SCFA are absorbed and can be used for energy in the body. This value is derived from data on the relationship of fiber consumption and coronary heart disease CHD risk, although the IOM also considered the totality of the evidence for fiber decreasing the risk of chronic disease and other health-related conditions.
Consequently, the IOM fiber recommendations are highest for populations who consume the most energy, namely young males. Fiber recommendations are lower for women and the elderly. Using this method for determining recommended fiber intake for children is problematic e. The past recommendations for children were based on the age plus 5 rule e. Dietary fiber is listed on the Nutrition Facts panel and 25 g of dietary fiber is the recommended amount in a kcal diet.
Dietary fiber on food labels includes both dietary fiber and functional fiber. In the IOM developed the following set of working definitions for fiber 13 : dietary fiber consists of nondigestible carbohydrates and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants; and functional fiber consists of isolated, nondigestible carbohydrates that have beneficial physiological effects in humans.
To make recommendations for fiber intake, the IOM used prospective cohort studies that linked fiber intakes to lower risk of cardiovascular disease CVD.
In establishing the dietary recommended intakes, the IOM 14 recommended an AI level of 14 g of fiber for each kcal of energy consumed for all individuals from 1 y of age throughout the remainder of their lives. Most commonly consumed foods are low in dietary fiber Table 3. Generally, accepted servings of food contain from 1 to 3 grams of fiber per serving. Higher fiber contents are found in drier foods such as whole-grain cereals, legumes, and dried fruits. Other fiber sources include over-the-counter laxatives containing fiber, fiber supplements, and fiber-fortified foods.
The major sources of dietary fiber in the American diets are white flour and potatoes, not because they are concentrated fiber sources but because they are widely consumed 9.
Vegetarian diets have been promoted since the 18th century by men and women in search of physical and spiritual health Vegetarian theorists who professed to follow the tenets of the ancient philosopher Pythagoras believed that diet should be part of an ascetic lifestyle. Vegetarianism was also symbolic of a commitment to health and social reform. Southgate 16 described the nature and variability of human food consumption and the role of plant foods in these relationships. A wide range of plant foods is consumed, including most parts of the plant, such as fruits, seeds, leaves, roots, and tubers.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Fruits and vegetables are some of the healthiest and best tasting foods. They are low in sodium and calories, and most are fat free. Reach for blue, purple, green, white, yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables for your meals and snacks. They help your body get the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other natural substances it needs to stay healthy. For more information about fruits, vegetables, and physical activity, visit us at www. Handouts : Nutrition Handouts.
PDF | On Aug 22, , Ifeoluwapo Amao published Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables: Review from Sub-Saharan Africa | Find, read and cite all the.
In order to encourage retail stores that sell raw fruits, vegetables, and fish to participate in the voluntary point-of-purchase nutrition information program 21 CFR These posters show nutrition information for the 20 most frequently consumed raw fruits, vegetables, and fish in the United States. The list of food items with nutrition information reflects the updates published in the Federal Register of August 17, 71 FR FDA also encourages consumers to view the posters. A text html version is also available for online viewing.
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Most people know that fruits and vegetables are good for you, but not as many are familiar with the differences between them. In terms of structure, taste and nutrition, there are many distinctions between fruits and vegetables. This article will take a closer look at the differences between fruits and vegetables, and the health benefits they can provide.
Although the consumption of fruit and vegetable is strongly associated with lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases and obesity, consumption levels among school-aged children and adults are notably lower than the recommended amount of g per day, a quantity approximately equivalent to 5 servings per day. Frequently consumed fruits were banana, orange and watermelon whereas frequently consumed vegetables were tomatoes and onion because most respondents used these vegetables in stews. Most are grown in Florida and California. The rainbow health benefits PDF KB explains what health benefits are gained by eating different colours of fruit and vegetables. Adolescents with parents having high socioeconomic status had, showed that level of awareness of the benefits of fruits consumption for ensuring good health, should be increased. It also outlined the benefits of some common fruits and vegetables in, the sub-Saharan region. They are high in vitamin C, vitamin A and flavonoids.
Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. DOI: Fruits and vegetables are universally promoted as healthy. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend you make one-half of your plate fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are universally promoted as healthy. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend you make one-half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables include a diverse group of plant foods that vary greatly in content of energy and nutrients. Additionally, fruits and vegetables supply dietary fiber, and fiber intake is linked to lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and obesity.
Victorian government portal for older people, with information about government and community services and programs. Type a minimum of three characters then press UP or DOWN on the keyboard to navigate the autocompleted search results. Fruit and vegetables should be an important part of your daily diet. They are naturally good and contain vitamins and minerals that can help to keep you healthy.
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