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WHO Says Up to 87% Not Eating Enough Fruit and Vegetables

A recent study suggests that people worldwide are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. The World Health Organization (WHO) found that 60% to 87% of the world’s population across all 13 geographic regions is not consuming the recommended five servings per day.

According to the WHO, as a result of not eating enough fruits and vegetables, most of the world’s population isn’t getting enough quantity or enough variety of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are organic compounds found in fruits and vegetables.

People who did eat the recommended amount had five to six times the amount of phytonutrients when compared with those who didn’t.

Additionally, the researchers examined specific regions of the world and found that fruiting vegetables (i.e. tomatoes and corn) are the cost commonly available vegetables across all regions. Populations in European regions showed high levels of beta-carotene, indicating high consumption of and easy access to carrots. Adults in Asia had lower levels of ellagic acid, probably due to the scarceness of berries. In South and Central America, much of the population is lacking lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for healthy vision.

Researchers from the Nutrilite Health Institute and California State University conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on August 11, 2014, in the British Journal of Nutrition.

There are a myriad of reasons for eating more fruits and vegetables, as they are packed with a wide varitey of powerful antioxidants. The antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables have been linked with healthier looking skin, heart health benefits and healthier levels of cholesterol. This is often attributed to the ability of antioxidants to fight free radicals in the body.

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