Phytonutrients, or the compounds found in colorful fruits and vegetables, may provide a range of health benefits and are increasingly recognized as important components of a healthy diet. However, research conducted in Korea in 2012 and the U.S. in 2010 — both published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics — indicated that phytonutrients are limited in many diets and come from a limited variety of food sources. For example, the largest gap in Korea was found in lycopene and ellagic acid, commonly found in watermelon and tomatoes,while Americans showed the largest gap in quercetin, which is often contained in apples and onions; and allicin, which can be found in garlic.
Amway’s Nutrilite Health Institute staff suggests that phytonutrient intake gaps are not just relegated to Korea and the U.S. alone, and that there are likely global phytonutrient shortfalls, which may vary regionally due to different diets.
“Our parents and doctors have always told us to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and while we may make every effort to do so, what is also critically important is eating a variety of these foods. Doing so results in consuming a variety of phytonutrients, and that can lead to better overall health,” said Dr. Lin.
“The research we presented today furthers the growing conversation around how, where and why we should include phytonutrients in our diets. As the world’s number one selling brand of vitamins and dietary supplements, Nutrilite is dedicated to understanding global phytonutrient needs. Research is revealing that no matter where we live, we are all well-served by finding more ways to bring a variety of phytonutrients into our diets,” continued Dr. Lin.
While building a diet rich in whole fruits and vegetables first is the ideal goal, Dr. Lin recommends natural, plant-based supplements like those made by Nutrilite to help fill phytonutrient gaps.
Nutrilite supports ongoing research to better understand the role of phytonutrients in human health, as well as supplementation trends and the best ways to deliver optimal health for every lifestyle. Publication of the complete findings from Nutrilite’s global phytonutrient research is anticipated in 2014.