Better Produce Variety May Prevent Illness

ANAHEIM, Calif., April 27 (UPI) — Americans could decrease their risk of chronic diseases if they increase their choices of fruits and vegetables, U.S. researchers suggest.

Keith Randolph, a technology strategist for Nutrilite, a maker of vitamin, mineral and dietary supplements, said a wide variety of foods contain phytonutrients — compounds that naturally occur in plants and provide health benefits — but many get phytonutrients from a limited amount of food.

The study found Americans got phytonutrients mainly from oranges, orange juice, carrots, grapes, garlic, tomatoes, strawberries, prepared mustard, tea and soy products.

“Americans could improve their phytonutrient intake by choosing to eat more concentrated sources of phytonutrients as well as a wider variety,” Randolph said in a statement.

“For example, grapes are the top contributor of the phytonutrient family of anthocyanidins in most Americans’ diets but blueberries actually contain higher amounts.”

The researchers said sweet potatoes have nearly double the beta-carotene compared to carrots in a single serving, papaya has roughly 15 times the beta-cryptoxanthin of an orange, substituting cooked kale for raw spinach triples lutein/zeaxanthin and one serving of raspberries has about three times the ellagic acid compared to strawberries.

The findings were presented at the Experimental Biology Meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

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