Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Contribution of Fruits to Human Nutrition

Contribution of Fruits to Human Nutrition
Fruits are not only colorful and flavorful components of our diet, but they also serve as a source of energy, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

The U.S department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines encourage consumers to enjoy “five a day,” eat at least two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables each day and to choose fresh, frozen, dried or canned forms of a variety of colors and kinds of fruits and vegetables.

In some countries, consumers are encouraged to eat up to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

ENERGY (Calories)
  • Carbohydrates: banana, breadfruit, jackfruit, plantain, dates, prunes, raisin
  • Proteins and amino acids: nuts, dried apricot, fig
  • Fats: avocado, olive, nuts

VITAMINS
Fresh fruits and vegetables contribute about 91% of vitamin C, 48% of vitamin A, 27% of vitamin B6, 17% if thiamin and 15% of niacin to the U.S diet.
  • Vitamin A: apricot, peach, cherry, orange, mango, papaya, persimmon, pineapple, cantaloupe, watermelon
  • Vitamin C: strawberry, orange, grapefruit, kiwifruit, pineapple, banana apple, cantaloupe
  • Niacin: peach, banana, orange, apricot
  • Riboflavin: banana, [peach, orange, apple, avocado
  • Thiamin: orange, banana, grapefruit, apple

MINERALS
Fresh fruits and vegetables contribute about 26% of the magnesium and 19% of the iron to the U.S diet
The following fruits are important contributors to the supply of indicated minerals in the U.S diet
  • Potassium: banana, peach, orange, apple, dried fruits such as apricot and prune
  • Phosphorus: banana, orange, peach, fig, raisin
  • Calcium: tangerine, grapefruit, orange
  • Iron: strawberry, banana, apple, orange

DIETARY FIBER
  • All fruits and nits contribute to dietary fiber. Dietary fiber consists of cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin and pectic substances, which are derived primarily form fruit cell walls and skin.
  • The dietary fiber content of fruits ranges form 0.5 to 1.5% (fresh weight)
  • Dietary fiber plays an important role in relieving constipation by increasing water holding capacity of feces. Its consumption is also linked to decreased incidence of cardiovascular disease, diverticulosis, and colon cancer.

ANTIOXIDANTS
Fruits, nuts, and vegetables in the daily diet have been strongly associated with reduced risk for some forms of cancer, heart disease, stroke and other chronic disease. This is attributed, in part, to their content of antioxidant phytochemicals.
  • Red, blue, and purple fruits (such as apple, blackberry, blueberry, blood orange, cranberry, grape, nectarine, peach, plum, prune, pomegranate, raspberry, and strawberry) are good sources of flavonoids and other phenolic compounds that are positively correlated with antioxidant capacity of the fruit.
  • Orange-flesh fruits (such as apricot, cantaloupe, mango, nectarine, orange, papaya, peach, persimmon and pineapple) and some red flesh fruits (such as tomato, watermelon and pink grapefruit) are good sources of carotenoids. Availability of lycopene to human is increased during tomato processing.
Contribution of Fruits to Human Nutrition
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