A high intake of fruits and vegetables (F&V) is a strong determinant of health and results in a low risk for cardiovascular diseases and some forms of cancer. Scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of F&V is primarily derived from epidemiological studies. What is missing is a profound understanding of the bioactive constituents in F&V, the underlying mechanisms, and the dose-response relationship. The articles introduced in this Ifava Newsletter further enhance our understanding of why F&V are so healthy.

Liu et al. investigate the contribution of fruits to the overall intake of antioxidants. Their data suggest that some fruits are really “superfruits” due to their high antioxidative potential. Whether these effects measured in test tubes are still relevant after the intestinal digestion of fruits, has yet to be studied in humans.

Esmaillzadeh et al. report that a high intake of F&V protects against non-specific chronic low-grade inflammation. This type of inflammation occurs in obese subjects and is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. A high F&V intake is also associated with lower blood pressure. He et al. suggest in their article that F&V as a major dietary source of potassium contribute to blood pressure reduction. Together these articles exemplify the different types of bioactive constituents in F&V. For the consumer, the maximum health benefit clearly results from a daily intake of at least 400 grams of various F&V.

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