Current dietary guidelines recommend eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. However, based on nutrient composition, some particular fruits and vegetables may be more or less beneficial for maintaining or achieving a healthy weight. We hypothesized that greater consumption of fruits and vegetables with a higher fiber content or lower glycemic load would be more strongly associated with a healthy weight.
To explore whether improvements in psychological well-being occur after increases in fruit and vegetable consumption.
Vegetables are important sources of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals in the diets of children. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National School Lunch Program has new requirements for weekly servings of vegetable subgroups as well as beans and peas. This study estimated the cost impact of meeting the USDA requirements using 2008 national prices for 98 vegetables, fresh, frozen, and canned. Food costs were calculated per 100 grams, per 100 calories, and per edible cup. Rank 6 score, a nutrient density measure was based on six nutrients: dietary fiber; potassium; magnesium; and vitamins A, C, and K. Individual nutrient costs were measured as the monetary cost of 10% daily value of each nutrient per cup equivalent. ANOVAs with post hoc tests showed that beans and starchy vegetables, including white potatoes, were cheaper per 100 calories than were dark-green and deep-yellow vegetables. Fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables had similar nutrient profiles and provided comparable nutritional value. However, less than half (n = 46) of the 98 vegetables listed by the USDA were were consumed >5 times by children and adolescents in the 2003-4 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database. For the more frequently consumed vegetables, potatoes and beans were the lowest-cost sources of potassium and fiber. These new metrics of affordable nutrition can help food service and health professionals identify those vegetable subgroups in the school lunch that provide the best nutritional value per penny.
This study was conducted with the objective of testing the hypothesis that tomato fruits from organic farming accumulate more nutritional compounds, such as phenolics and vitamin C as a consequence of the stressing conditions associated with farming system. Growth was reduced in fruits from organic farming while titratable acidity, the soluble solids content and the concentrations in vitamin C were respectively +29%, +57% and +55% higher at the stage of commercial maturity. At that time, the total phenolic content was +139% higher than in the fruits from conventional farming which seems consistent with the more than two times higher activity of phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) we observed throughout fruit development in fruits from organic farming. Cell membrane lipid peroxidation (LPO) degree was 60% higher in organic tomatoes. SOD activity was also dramatically higher in the fruits from organic farming. Taken together, our observations suggest that tomato fruits from organic farming experienced stressing conditions that resulted in oxidative stress and the accumulation of higher concentrations of soluble solids as sugars and other compounds contributing to fruit nutritional quality such as vitamin C and phenolic compounds.
This study tested the psychological benefits of a 14-day preregistered clinical intervention to increase fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption in 171 low-FV-consuming young adults (67% female, aged 18-25). Participants were randomly assigned into a diet-as-usual control condition, an ecological momentary intervention (EMI) condition involving text message reminders to increase their FV consumption plus a voucher to purchase FV, or a fruit and vegetable intervention (FVI) condition in which participants were given two additional daily servings of fresh FV to consume on top of their normal diet. Self-report outcome measures were depressive symptoms and anxiety measured pre- and post-intervention, and daily negative and positive mood, vitality, flourishing, and flourishing behaviors (curiosity, creativity, motivation) assessed nightly using a smartphone survey. Vitamin C and carotenoids were measured from blood samples pre- and post-intervention, and psychological expectancies about the benefits of FV were measured post-intervention to test as mediators of psychological change. Only participants in the FVI condition showed improvements to their psychological well-being with increases in vitality, flourishing, and motivation across the 14-days relative to the other groups. No changes were found for depressive symptoms, anxiety, or mood. Intervention benefits were not mediated by vitamin C, carotenoids, or psychological expectancies. We conclude that providing young adults with high-quality FV, rather than reminding them to eat more FV (with a voucher to purchase FV), resulted in significant short-term improvements to their psychological well-being. These results provide initial proof-of-concept that giving young adults fresh fruit and vegetables to eat can have psychological benefits even over a brief period of time.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans consume more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall dietary pattern to reduce the risk for diet-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity (1). Adults should consume 1.5-2.0 cup equivalents of fruits and 2.0-3.0 cups of vegetables per day.* Overall, few adults in each state met intake recommendations according to 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data; however, sociodemographic characteristics known to be associated with fruit and vegetable consumption were not examined (2). CDC used data from the 2015 BRFSS to update the 2013 report and to estimate the percentage of each state’s population meeting intake recommendations by age, sex, race/ethnicity, and income-to-poverty ratio (IPR) for the 50 states and District of Columbia (DC). Overall, 12.2% of adults met fruit recommendations ranging from 7.3% in West Virginia to 15.5% in DC, and 9.3% met vegetable recommendations, ranging from 5.8% in West Virginia to 12.0% in Alaska. Intake was low across all socioeconomic groups. Overall, the prevalence of meeting the fruit intake recommendation was highest among women (15.1%), adults aged 31-50 years (13.8%), and Hispanics (15.7%); the prevalence of meeting the vegetable intake recommendation was highest among women (10.9%), adults aged ≥51 years (10.9%), and persons in the highest income group (11.4%). Evidence-based strategies that address barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption such as cost or limited availability could improve consumption and help prevent diet-related chronic disease.
Awareness of federal nutrition programs and use of the nutrition facts label are associated with reduced risk for obesity and increased intake of fruits and vegetables. Relationships between nutrition programs, use of food labels and risk for overweight and obesity have rarely been evaluated in adolescents.
Carotenoids represent some of the most important secondary metabolites in the human diet, and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a rich source of these health promoting compounds. In this work, a novel and fruit-related regulator of pigment accumulation in tomato has been identified by Artificial Neural Network Inference Analysis (ANN) and its function validated in transgenic plants. A tomato-fruit gene-regulatory network was generated using ANN and transcription-factor gene-expression profiles (Tfs) derived from fruits sampled at various points during development and ripening. One of the Tfs with a sequence related to an Arabidopsis PSEUDO RESPONSE REGULATOR 2-LIKE gene (APRR2-Like) was up-regulated at the breaker stage in wild type tomato fruits and, when over expressed in transgenic lines, increased plastid number, area and pigment content; enhancing the levels of chlorophyll in immature unripe fruits and carotenoids in red ripe fruits. Analysis of the transcriptome of transgenic lines over expressing the tomato APPR2-Like gene revealed up-regulation of several ripening-related genes in the over-expression lines providing a link between expression of this tomato gene and the ripening process. A putative orthologue of the tomato APPR2-Like gene in sweet pepper was associated with pigment accumulation in fruit tissues. We conclude that the function of this gene is conserved across taxa and that it encodes a protein that has an important role in ripening.
Infant dietary patterns tend to be insufficient sources of fruits, vegetables, and fiber, as well as excessive in salt, added sugars, and overall energy. Despite the serious long-term health risks associated with suboptimal fruit and vegetable intake, a large percentage of infants and toddlers in the U.S. do not consume any fruits or vegetables on a daily basis. Since not all fruits and vegetables are nutritionally similar, guidance on the optimal selection of fruits and vegetables should emphasize those with the greatest potential for nutrition and health benefits. A challenge is that the most popularly consumed fruits for this age group (i.e., apples, pears, bananas, grapes, strawberries) do not closely fit the current general recommendations since they tend to be overly sweet and/or high in sugar. Unsaturated oil-containing fruits such as avocados are nutritionally unique among fruits in that they are lower in sugar and higher in fiber and monounsaturated fatty acids than most other fruits, and they also have the proper consistency and texture for first foods with a neutral flavor spectrum. Taken together, avocados show promise for helping to meet the dietary needs of infants and toddlers, and should be considered for inclusion in future dietary recommendations for complementary and transitional feeding.
Dietary patterns rich in fruits and vegetables are considered to reduce atherosclerotic disease presentation and are reported to be inversely associated with subclinical measures of atherosclerosis, such as carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) and plaque. However, the effect of vegetable intake alone, and relationships to specific types of vegetables containing different phytochemical profiles, is important. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations of total vegetable intake and specific vegetables grouped according to phytochemical constituents with common carotid artery IMT (CCA-IMT) and carotid plaque severity in a cohort of older adult women (aged ≥70 years).