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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diet and Nutrition > Fruits and Vegetables: Functions and Sources
      Category : Health Centers > Food, Nutrition, and Metabolism

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and Vegetables | Functions and Sources

What food source is the nutrient found in?

Fruits and vegetables are good sources of many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other plant chemicals. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables have many advantages.

Beta-carotene is an antioxidant. It is found in dark green, orange, red, and deep yellow fruits and vegetables. Sources include apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, kale, mustard greens, spinach, sweet potatoes, and winter squash.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant. It is found in citrus fruits. Sources include grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines. Vitamin C is also found in broccoli, cantaloupe, green peppers, kiwi fruits, potatoes, and strawberries.

Dark green leafy vegetables contain folate. Folate is essential for normal growth and maintenance of your body's cells. Folate is found in spinach, dried beans, liver, yeast breads, wheat germ, some fortified cereals, and mustard greens. Oranges are also a good source of folate. Some dark green leafy vegetables are also good sources of calcium.

Vegetables in the cabbage family may be natural cancer fighters. They are called cruciferous vegetables. Experts believe that the nutrients, compounds, and phytochemicals they contain, along with their beta carotene, fiber, and vitamin C, have cancer fighting properties. Sources include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage.

Tomatoes and tomato juice contain lycopene. This has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers, including prostate cancer.

Bananas, oranges, apricots, melon, and dried fruits contain potassium, an important mineral for the body.

How does the nutrient affect the body?

Fresh fruits and vegetables are the ideal fast food. They are low-fat and cholesterol free. They are high in complex carbohydrates. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Fresh fruits and vegetables help protect against many diseases. These include cataracts, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and stroke. This is just a short list. There are many others.

Scientists believe that certain vitamins and minerals can act as antioxidants. They protect cells from free radicals. Free radicals damage cells. This damage can lead to many chronic diseases. Beta-carotene, and vitamins C and E work as antioxidants.

Research suggests a possible link between high intakes of antioxidant vitamins and heart health. There is no concrete evidence yet. Fiber-rich foods may also help to lower blood cholesterol and promote heart health. These are more good reason to include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet each day because they are rich in antioxidants.

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Fruits and Vegetables: Overview & Description


Author: Kelly Streit, MS, RD, LD
Reviewer: Kimberly A. Tessmer, RD, LD
Date Reviewed: 04/04/01

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