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Senior Information Specialist, West Central Region
University of Missouri Cooperative Media Group
Published: Monday, July 28, 2008
Karen Elliott, 816-482-5850
BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. - Many people try to fulfill their nutrition needs by taking dietary supplements. But instead of buying supplements, you might want to head to the produce aisle to meet your dietary requirements, said a University of Missouri Extension nutrition and health education specialist.
Fruits and vegetables contain hundreds of phytochemicals that help promote health and prevent disease, said Karen Elliott. These phytochemicals are easily absorbed to provide maximum health benefits. In contrast, common dietary supplements contain large doses of only one or two phytochemicals. Moreover, supplements do not have to undergo testing for safety and effectiveness.
Phytochemicals are natural compounds found in plants. Research suggests that phytochemicals, working with nutrients found in fruits, vegetables and nuts, may reduce the effects of aging and lower the risk of many diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, arthritis, cataracts, osteoporosis and urinary tract infections.
Fruits and vegetables that have bright colors - yellow, orange, red, green, blue and purple - generally contain the most phytochemicals and the most nutrients. USDA nutritional guidelines recommend a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Look for these nutrition stars whenever you can:
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