New Delhi: Adults worldwide should at least double their current consumption of fruits and vegetables to meet the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) minimum recommendation of five servings (400 grams) per day, emphasises a study.
According to the “Global Phytonutrient Report 2014” released by Nutrilite Health Institute here Monday, 60 to 87 percent adults globally fall short of the WHO recommendation and are missing out on crucial nutrition and health benefits.
The fruits and vegetable intake is pretty dismal in Asian countries, including India, researchers emphasised.
“The findings highlight a global need for increased awareness of the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and phytonutrient intakes,” said Keith Randolph, a nutrition technology strategist at the Nutrilite Health Institute and co-author of the research.
It implies that most adults worldwide are not receiving the quantity or variety of phytonutrients - organic compounds found in fruits and vegetables - potentially needed to support their health and wellness.
The team examined the impact of low fruit and vegetable consumption on phytonutrient intake in each of the 13 regions under study.
They found that adults consuming five or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables had two to six times the average intake of phytonutrients of adults consuming fewer than five servings per day.
While specific recommendations for phytonutrient consumption levels have not yet been established uniformly worldwide, a growing body of research suggests that eating foods rich in phytonutrients may provide a range of health benefits, from promoting eye, bone and heart health, to supporting immune and brain function.
Many phytonutrients are powerful antioxidants that can help fight the damage caused to our bodies’ cells over time.
“Both the amount and variety of fruits and vegetables in a person’s diet are important,” stressed study co-author Mary Murphy, a senior managing scientist at US-based Exponent Inc.
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, he added.
The findings of the report appeared in the British Journal of Nutrition.