A new report that appears in the British Journal of Nutrition stresses on the dismal quantity of fruits and vegetables being consumed in India and other Asian countries. (More: Fibre in fruits and veggies prevents diabetes) It implies that most adults worldwide are not receiving the quantity or variety of phytonutrients that they need to support good health and wellness. (More: Eat more fruits to live longer)
It's not that people don't eat fruits and vegetables, but in what quantity is what this study calls into question. The researchers emphasised that the fruit and vegetable intake in India and other Asian countries is pretty dismal.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a person consume at least five servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables a day (400 grams per day). To meet this requirement, the study suggests that adults worldwide need to double their intake from their current consumption. (More: Eat 5 portions of fruits and veggies for a better heart)
The 'Global Phytonutrient Report 2014' released by Nutrilite Health Institute stated that 60 to 87 percent adults globally fall short of the WHO recommendation and are missing out on crucial nutrition and health benefits.
According to Keith Randolph, a nutrition technology strategist at the Nutrilite Health Institute and co-author of the research, "The findings highlight a global need for increased awareness of the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and phytonutrient intakes." This implies that
The team examined the impact of low fruit and vegetable consumption on phytonutrient intake in 13 different regions and found that adults consuming five or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables had two to six times the average intake of phytonutrients of adults consuming fewer than five servings per day.
While specific recommendations for phytonutrient consumption levels have not yet been established uniformly worldwide, a growing body of research suggests that eating foods rich in phytonutrients may provide a range of health benefits - healthy eyesight, stronger bones, healthy heart, stronger immune system and smooth brain function.
Many phytonutrients are powerful antioxidants that can help fight the damage caused to our bodies' cells over time. According to co-author Mary Murphy, a senior managing scientist at US-based Exponent Inc., "Both the amount and variety of fruits and vegetables in a person's diet are important."
In order to consume a range of phytonutrients, people should aim to meet recommended intakes of fruits and vegetables and eat an assortment of fruits and vegetables, he added.
With inputs from IANS