Why is fruit and vegetable intake so important to good health?
Functional Food

Why is fruit and vegetable intake so important to good health?


We know that fruit and vegetable intake is good for health. In addition to the usual nutrients like vitamins and minerals, do you know what makes the fruits and vegetables so “special”? 


The answer is “polyphenols” 


Many people may not know what polyphenols are. They occur naturally in fruits and vegetables, and are the reasons why eating fruits and vegetables is good for our health. There is numerous scientific literature linking health benefits associated with fruit and vegetable intakes to their polyphenol contents1,2,3. Recent clinical studies have also identified which and how much of each specific polyphenol is required for health maintenance and promotion 4,5


Benefits of Polyphenols

  • Improve your heart health1,4,5,6

  • Improve brain function3

  • Improve gut health7

  • Increase immunity8

  • Reduce risk of diabetes9

  • Lower risk of cancer6


Now, we are more ready to understand why we need to eat 100 apples daily. Let me explain in my next blog. 


1 Mendonça RD, Carvalho NC, Martin-Moreno JM, Pimenta AM, Lopes ACS, Gea A, Martinez-Gonzalez MA, Bes-Rastrollo M. Total polyphenol intake, polyphenol subtypes and incidence of cardiovascular disease: The SUN cohort study. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2019 Jan;29(1):69-78.


2 Bondonno NP, Lewis JR, Blekkenhorst LC, Bondonno CP, Shin JH, Croft KD, Woodman RJ, Wong G, Lim WH, Gopinath B, Flood VM, Russell J, Mitchell P, Hodgson JM. Association of flavonoids and flavonoid-rich foods with all-cause mortality: The Blue Mountains Eye Study. Clin Nutr. 2020 Jan;39(1):141-150. 


3 Bensalem J, Dudonné S, Etchamendy N, Pellay H, Amadieu C, Gaudout D, Dubreuil S, Paradis ME, Pomerleau S, Capuron L, Hudon C, Layé S, Desjardins Y, Pallet V. Polyphenols From Grape and Blueberry Improve Episodic Memory in Healthy Elderly with Lower Level of Memory Performance: A Bicentric Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 Jun 18;74(7):996-1007


4 Zern TL, Wood RJ, Greene C, West KL, Liu Y, Aggarwal D, Shachter NS, Fernandez ML. Grape polyphenols exert a cardioprotective effect in pre- and postmenopausal women by lowering plasma lipids and reducing oxidative stress. J Nutr. 2005 Aug;135(8):1911-7


5 Liu XM, Liu YJ, Huang Y, Yu HJ, Yuan S, Tang BW, Wang PG, He QQ. Dietary total flavonoids intake and risk of mortality from all causes and cardiovascular disease in the general population: A systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Jun;61(6).


6 Bondonno NP, Dalgaard F, Kyrø C, Murray K, Bondonno CP, Lewis JR, Croft KD, Gislason G, Scalbert A, Cassidy A, Tjønneland A, Overvad K, Hodgson JM. Flavonoid intake is associated with lower mortality in the Danish Diet Cancer and Health Cohort. Nat Commun. 2019 Aug 13;10(1):3651


7 Cardona F, Andrés-Lacueva C, Tulipani S, Tinahones FJ, Queipo-Ortuño MI. Benefits of polyphenols on gut microbiota and implications in human health. J Nutr Biochem. 2013 Aug;24(8):1415-22.


8 Yahfoufi N, Alsadi N, Jambi M, Matar C. The Immunomodulatory and Anti-Inflammatory Role of Polyphenols. Nutrients. 2018 Nov 2;10(11):1618.

9 Cao H, Ou J, Chen L, Zhang Y, Szkudelski T, Delmas D, Daglia M, Xiao J. Dietary polyphenols and type 2 diabetes: Human Study and Clinical Trial. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(20):3371-3379.



Posted on 9 Feb, 2021
Posted by Dr. Loke Wai Mun

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