N° 2 | September 2015

F&V benefits: new data


Lesser known benefits from fruits and vegetables: new data and research findings!

Benefits from regular consumption of fruits and vegetables (F&V) in the prevention of many chronic diseases are now well documented. This new Global Fruit and Veg newsletter focuses on some lesser known health F&V benefits.

First, Neville and Woodside investigated the relationship between F&V consumption and muscular power and strength in adolescents. These authors studied 2000 adolescents aged 12-15 years who participated in the 2000 Young Hearts (YH) Project. Their study showed that muscular power is significantly greater in boys and girls who ate high quantities of F&V compared to those who ate less, after adjustment for confounding factors. Previous studies had shown similar results but in adult populations. The mechanisms that underlie the effects of F&V on muscles remain to be determined. These may include high antioxidant levels that protect against oxidative stress and muscle cell inflammation, greater alkalinity that combats excess acidosis, nitrates that influence mitochondrial efficacy in muscle cells, etc.

Another original topic is addressed by Eslamian and colleagues at Teheran University: the impact of a F&V-rich diet on sperm quality, notably asthenospermia (reduced spermatozoid motility and vitality). These authors studied associations between eating habits and asthenospermia. Their case-control study included 342 men between 20 and 40 years of age including 107 men with asthenospermia. Two nutritional models appeared: the «prudent pattern» (rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, whole grains, low fat milk, vegetable oils) and the classic «western pattern» (rich in red meat, sugars, sodas, hydrogenated fat, snacks…). Their results are clear: participants with the highest scores for the «prudent pattern» showed a 54% reduction in the risk of asthenospermia compared to those in the lowest tertile.

Finally, Steenbruggen et al. investigated the impact of nutrition on unexplained fatigue in children. Their interventional study included a hundred children aged 2-18 years, with unexplained fatigue. For 3 months, the intervention group adopted a diet rich in green vegetables, beef, whole milk and butter whereas the control group did not change their habits. Children from the intervention group showed a significant reduction in their need for sleep. Moreover, a significant reduction in cognitive fatigue was associated with the consumption of green vegetables, whereas sleep needs were further reduced in children with a daily consumption of whole milk. Possible explanations? Antioxidant-rich vegetables, high melatonin concentration in milk, impact on immunity… Time will no doubt tell.
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