Are food-based dietary approaches the future of disease prevention?

In times of caloric over-nutrition, micronutrient intakes in Western societies mostly meet the dietary allowances. At the same time nutrition-related diseases still put a high demand on national health care systems. Despite this discrepancy between adequate micronutrient intakes on one side and the high prevalence of Western diseases on the other side, micronutrient supplements are still a popular means to prevent major diseases including cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and dementia.

Two articles in this issue emphasize the superiority of food-based approaches for disease prevention compared to a nutrient-based approach. Nunez-Cordoba and Vina et al. summarize the scientific evidence on the role of antioxidant supplements in the prevention of CVD and dementia. They conclude that most intervention trials with single or combined antioxidants failed to reduce disease risks. In contrast, plant-based dietary approaches providing antioxidants and other nutrients via high intakes of vegetables and fruit (V+F) effectively reduced disease risks.

On top of their preventive effects, V+F can make people look more beautiful. As Gibault reports in this newsletter, carotenoids from V+F accumulate in human skin. Within a short period of time after V+F intervention, a more attractive skin-coloration can be achieved. In addition, carotenoids from V+F protect the skin from UV damage. In conclusion, this newsletter presents further arguments for a higher intake of V+F, and provides a wider perspective of the resultant health benefits from this course of action.

See next article