Overview for Fruits and Vegetables: Micronutrient and Antioxidant Quality
Food science has emerged with a growing literature about fruits and vegetables imparting greater health benefits to humans. The recent focus has been on functionality of foods meaning thereby of improving quality of diet by identifying foods which boost the capacity of human body to resist disease and enhance health. These alternative medicinal approaches of increasing intake of antioxidant and micronutrient rich foods are valuable in coping up the oxidative stress which is associated with many health disorders such as increased prevalence of diabetes cataract cardiovascular diseases and cancer. There is a need to develop awareness about consumption of protective foods such as green leafy, fruit and root vegetables the intakes of which is far below their recommended dietary allowances.
The last two decades of research has brought more understanding of the functions and new roles of micronutrients and other active principles from fruits and vegetables. They have multiple metabolic functions and they are Integral components of antioxidant enzymes that protect organism against free radical damage. It is important to know the adequacy of micronutrient contents of diet to prevent oneself from possible deficiency or excess.
Although there are some books and reports available on micronutrient contents of raw fruits and vegetables, the data on cooked vegetables are scanty. Further systematic data on antioxidant quality of commonly consumed fruits and vegetables both in their raw and cooked form are not available. Hence, there is a need of a reference book to educate researchers, clinicians, students and even health aware individuals about the individual antioxidants and micronutrients and the nutraceutical potential of fruits and vegetables available in local markets so as the emphasize their importance as inexpensive and natural sources having health promoting properties.