Nutritional Quality and Health Benefits of Vegetables: A Review

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DOI: 10.4236/fns.2012.310179    7,925 Downloads   12,328 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Vegetables are considered essential for well-balanced diets since they supply vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and phytochemicals. Each vegetable group contains an unique combination and amount of these phytonutriceuticals, which distinguishes them from other groups and vegetables whithin their own group. In the daily diet vegetables have been strongly associated with improvement of gastrointestinal health, good vision, and reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, chronic diseases such as diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Some phytochemicals of vegetables are strong antioxidants and are thought to reduce the risk of chronic disease by protecting against free radical damage, by modifying metabolic activation and detoxification of carcinogens, or even by influencing processes that alter the course of tumor cells. All the vegetables may offer protection to humans against chronic diseases. Nutrition is both a quantity and a quality issue, and vegetables in all their many forms ensure an adequate intake of most vitamins and nutrients, dietary fibers, and phytochemicals which can bring a much-needed measure of balance back to diets contributing to solve many of these nutrition problems. The promotion of healthy vegetable products has coincided with a surging consumer interested in the healthy functionality of food. Because each vegetable contains a unique combination of phytonutriceuticals, a great diversity of vegetables should be eaten to ensure that individual’s diet includes a combination of phytonutriceuticals and to get all the health benefits. This article make a review and discusses the nutritional quality and health benefits of the major groups of vegetables. More interdisciplinary work is required that involves nutritional and food scientists as well as others from biomedical fields to ascertain the thrue function of specific phytonutriceuticals.

Cite this paper

J. Dias, "Nutritional Quality and Health Benefits of Vegetables: A Review," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 10, 2012, pp. 1354-1374. doi: 10.4236/fns.2012.310179.

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