Food Service & Agriculture, Health Care, and Manufacturing

Eat your veggies? Not likely

September 4, 2014
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Individuals who met the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables had two to six times the amount of phytonutrients, which can support the immune system and brain function, according to an Amway report. Courtesy Thinkstock

A new report shows adults throughout the world are not receiving important health benefits due to the lack of fruits and vegetables in their daily diet.

Amway, a global direct-selling business headquartered in Ada, announced new research highlighting the lack of fruit and vegetable intake, its resulting health impact, and availability of the nutrient-rich food in people’s diets around the world, which is outlined in Nutrilite Health Institute’s commissioned study “The Phytonutrient Report.”

Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the report developed by Nutrilite Health Institute used results of fruit and vegetable intake analyzed by Exponent Inc. The engineering and scientific consulting firm created the compilation of data from sources including: World Health Organization’s World Health Survey; the Global Environment Monitoring System-Food Contamination Monitoring and Assessment Programme; and the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Supply Utilization Accounts and Food Balance Sheets.

Based on the data using 13 different geographic regions, the report noted 60 to 87 percent of adults across the globe would need to more than double current fruit and vegetable intake to meet the WHO’s minimum recommendation of 400 grams each day. Due to the lack of eating fruit and vegetables, adults are not receiving the necessary amount or variety of phytonutrients, which can support health and wellness.

Keith Randolph, nutrition technology strategist at the Nutrilite Health Institute and co-author of the report, said the research highlights a global need for increased awareness of the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and phytonutrient intakes.

“No matter where they live, many adults today lead busy and actives lives and/or may have limited access to some fruits and vegetables,” said Randolph in the release. “That’s why it’s important for adults to eat whole foods, including fruits and vegetables, whenever possible.”

Individuals who met the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables had two to six times the amount of phytonutrients, which can support the immune system and brain function, according to the report.

Mary Murphy, senior managing scientist at Exponent and a registered dietitian, said 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,” said Murphy in the release.

The research not only examined the impact of fruit and vegetable intake throughout the 13 regions, but also studied the accessibility individuals throughout the world have to different fruits and vegetables. Key findings regarding availability of fruits and vegetables throughout the world include: adults in Asian regions have limited access to berries; South and Central Americans had lower intakes of phytonutrients supporting health vision; and Northern Europeans had higher levels of nutrients associated with carrots.

With little information available on the variety of fruits and vegetables consumed on a global basis and its resulting impact, the study is meant to provide a better understanding of the consumption and availability, according to Randolph.

“Ultimately, this study will serve researchers in the design and focus of future research that explores the relationships between dietary patterns and how they influence health outcomes,” said Randolph. “This will allow for a better understanding of the role that these foods play in the maintenance of optimal health.”

With the Nutrilite brand celebrating its 80th anniversary, the report is an opportunity to share the commitment of helping others obtain optimal health and lead the world in understanding the benefits of phytonutrients, he said.

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