The research examined the impact of low fruit and vegetable consumption on phytonutrient intake in each of the 13 regions under study. This examination found 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.
Additionally, the research looks at the variety and availability of fruits and vegetables in each of the regions. It shows that phytonutrient intake estimates vary considerably across some regions, a reflection of limited availability of some fruits and vegetables. Key findings include:
When compared to other regions, adults in European regions, in particular Northern Europe, likely have high intakes of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, attributable in part to the relative high availability of carrots. These phytonutrients are known to support healthy growth and development.1
Adults in Asia (A), which includes China and India, likely have relatively low intakes of ellagic acid due to the limited availability of berries. Ellagic acid is shown to be vital to cell health.2,3
South/Central America: Adults in South/Central America likely have relatively low intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin - phytonutrients thought to be crucial to healthy vision4,5 - relative to adults in Asia or Northern Europe.
Fruiting vegetables (e.g. tomatoes and corn) and tropical and subtropical fruits (e.g. plantains and bananas) are among the most commonly available vegetables and fruits across most regions. Given this, adults worldwide consuming fruits and vegetables will likely receive some level of lycopene, which supports heart health,6 as well as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin.
"Both the amount and variety of fruits and vegetables in a person's diet are important," said Mary Murphy, MS, RD, senior managing scientist at Exponent, Inc. and co-author of the study. "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."
Factors Contributing to Low Phytonutrient Intake Dr. Randolph acknowledges that busy lives, cost, seasonal and geographic availability, as well as perceptions of the value of fruits and vegetables as a food source, could all influence people's consumption of fruits and vegetables, and ultimately phytonutrients.
"No matter where they live, many adults today lead busy and active lives and/or may have limited access to some fruits and vegetables," said Randolph. "That's why it's important for adults to eat whole foods, including fruits and vegetables, whenever possible. But when availability is limited or diet is not enough, dietary supplementation may be an option for individuals looking to increase their phytonutrient consumption," added Randolph.
Additional information about the research can be found at www.globalnews.amway.com/home The study is published online at www.journals.cambridge.org/BJN/phytonutrient and will appear in the September print issue of the British Journal of Nutrition.
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*Source: Euromonitor International Limited, www.euromonitor.com/amway-claims.
The research was commissioned by the Nutrilite Health Institute of Amway and estimated phytonutrient intake across 13 regions by analyzing the World Health Survey fruit and vegetable servings intake data and the Food and Agriculture Organization supply utilization accounts data in combination with phytonutrient concentration data from U.S. Department of Agriculture databases and the published literature. The nine phytonutrients included in the analysis are found predominantly in fruits and vegetables and represent major classes of phytochemicals (carotenoids, flavonoids, phenolic acids).
The Global Phytonutrient Report: A Global Snapshot of Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Availability, and Implications for Phytonutrient Intakes was developed by Nutrilite using results from an analysis of fruit and vegetable intakes conducted for Nutrilite by Exponent, Inc. The analysis of fruit and vegetable intakes was conducted using data from several sources: World Health Organization's World Health Survey, the Global Environment Monitoring System - Food Contamination Monitoring and Assessment Program, and the Food and Agriculture Organization's Supply Utilization Accounts and Food Balance Sheets. All implications and inferences presented in this report were prepared by Nutrilite and represent the opinions of Nutrilite.
The 13 regions in the analysis conducted for Nutrilite correspond to the 2006 diet clusters identified by the Global Environment Monitoring System - Food Contamination Monitoring and Assessment Program. The regions and examples of associated countries include: Americas and Australia (United States); South/Central America (Mexico); South America (Brazil); Southern Europe/Mediterranean (Italy); Western Europe (Germany); Northern Europe (Sweden); Eastern Europe (Russia); Asia (A) (China and India); Asia (B) (Japan and Korea); Northern Africa/Middle East (Morocco); Central Africa (A) (Cameroon); Central Africa (B) (Nigeria); Southern Africa (South Africa). Both Asia and Central Africa were separated by GEMS into two clusters.
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2 - Aiyer HS, Kichambare S, Gupta RC. Prevention of oxidative DNA damage by bioactive berry components. Nutr Cancer 2008;60:36-42.
3 - Aiyer HS, Srinivasan C, Gupta RC. Dietary berries and ellagic acid diminish estrogen-mediated mammary tumorigenesis in ACI rats. Nutr Cancer 2008;60:227-34.
4 - Piermarocchi S1, Saviano S, Parisi V, Tedeschi M, Panozzo G, Scarpa G, Boschi G, Lo Giudice G; Carmis Study Group. Carotenoids in Age-related Maculopathy Italian Study (CARMIS): two-year results of a randomized study. Eur J Ophthalmol. 2012 Mar-Apr;22(2):216-25.
5 - Ma L1, Yan SF, Huang YM, Lu XR, Qian F, Pang HL, Xu XR, Zou ZY, Dong PC, Xiao X, Wang X, Sun TT, Dou HL, Lin XM. Effect of lutein and zeaxanthin on macular pigment and visual function in patients with early age-related macular degeneration. Ophthalmology. 2012 Nov;119(11):2290-7.
6 - Bahm V. Lycopene and heart health. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2012; 56(2):296-303.