Constituents of fruits and vegetables that have a positive impact on human health and their sources
Function in the Body: Essential for vision, skin and the immune system. Promotes growth. Protects against some types of cancer.
Fruit and Vegetable Sources: Cantaloupe, apricots, dark green and deep yellow vegetables such as pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, greens and bell peppers.
Function in the Body: Strengthens blood vessels, improves wound and bone healing, increases the resistance to infections and increases the absorption of iron – another important nutrient for growth.
Fruit and Vegetable Sources: Cantaloupe, honeydew melon, peaches, oranges, strawberries, kiwifruit, asparagus, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts.
Function in the Body: It is the major lipid-soluble component in the cell antioxidant defence system and is exclusively obtained from the diet. Oxidation has been linked to numerous possible conditions and diseases including cancer, ageing, arthritis and cataracts.
Fruit and Vegetable Sources: Nuts (such as almonds, cashew nuts, filberts, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts).
Antioxidants and Phytonutrients
Function in the Body: Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals and other substances that fight free radicals, which play a role in the progression of cancer and heart disease. Phytonutrients are the color pigments in the fruits and vegetables that either act as antioxidants or enhance the antioxidant benefits.
Fruit and Vegetable Sources: Fruits and vegetables bursting with color such as berries, tomatoes, and dark green and deep yellow vegetables.
Function in the Body: Important to maintain digestive health, as well as reduce blood cholesterol.
Fruit and Vegetable Sources: Raspberries, peas, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, raisins, broccoli, black beans.
Function in the Body: Important for normal cell division, wound healing and prevention of birth defects.
Fruit and Vegetable Sources: Orange, dried peas and beans, green leafy vegetables such as mustard and turnip greens, collards and spinach.
Function in the Body: Important for strong bones, blood clotting, muscle contraction and nerve function.
Fruit and Vegetable Sources: Rhubarb, okra and green leafy vegetables such as mustard and turnip greens, collards, kale and spinach.
Function in the Body: Potassium provides the “yin” to sodium’s “yang.” It lowers your blood pressure and also protects you from blood pressure increases after consuming sodium.
Fruit and Vegetable Sources: Baked potato or sweet potato, banana & plantain, cooked dry beans, cooked greens, dried fruits (such as apricots and prunes), winter (orange) squash.
Source: Ramya V and Priya Patel. Health benefits of vegetables. International Journal of Chemical Studies 2019; 7(2): 82-87.
Suggested further references:
Da Silva Dias JC, Imai S. Vegetables Consumption and its Benefits on Diabetes. Journal of Nutritional Therapeutics. 2017; 6(1):1-0.
Palermo M, Pellegrini N, Fogliano V. The effect of cooking on the phytochemical content of vegetables. J Sci Food Agric 2014; 94(6):1057-1070.