February 10, 2012
Mary Murphy, R.D., Leila Barraj, Sc.D. and Xiaoyu Bi of the Center for Chemical Regulation and Food Safety have had their research published in this month's Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The research entitiled "Phytonutrient Intake by Adults in the United States in Relation to Fruit and Vegetable Consumption", estimates the usual intakes of nine individual phytonutrients by Americans consuming recommended levels of fruits and vegetables compared to intakes by adults not meeting these recommendations, and identifies contributions of food sources to total phytonutrient intakes. The phytonutrients examined in this study are found predominantly in fruits and vegetables.
According to WebMD, Phytonutrients are certain organic components of plants, and are thought to promote human health. Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and teas are rich sources of phytonutrients. but unlike "traditional" nutrients (protein, fat, vitamins, minerals), phytonutrients are not "essential" for life, so some people prefer the term "phytochemical."
The research showed that energy-adjusted intakes of all phytonutrients other than ellagic acid were considerably higher among both men and women meeting dietary recommendations for fruit and vegetable intakes compared to those not meeting the recommendations; energy-adjusted intakes of ellagic acid were higher only among women meeting vs not meeting the recommendations. For five of the nine phytonutrients (a-carotene, ß-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, hesperetin, and ellagic acid), a single food accounted for 64% or more of the total intake of the phytonutrient. Energy-adjusted intakes of carotenoids and flavonoids are higher among men and women whose diets conform to dietary guidance for fruits and vegetables. A limited number of foods provide the majority of these phytonutrients. Findings from this research provide important reference information on the phytonutrient contributions of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
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