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Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2001 May;71(3):149-53.

Guidelines for the intake of vegetables and fruit: the Mediterranean approach.

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Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, School of Medicine, University of Athens, 75 Mikras Asias Str., GR-115 27, Athens, Hellas.


Various studies have demonstrated that the nutrient and non-nutrient substances present in vegetables and fruit (V&F) are most likely to be responsible for the beneficial effect of the increased V&F consumption. Urged by scientific evidence, current dietary guidelines strongly recommend the consumption of V&F in substantial amounts. In a recent paper (Brit. J. Nutr. 2000; 84, 549-556) V&F availability in 10 European countries was compared with the WHO recommendations (minimum combined V&F intake of about 400 g/day/person), as well as with guidelines of a minimum daily intake of three portions of vegetables (approx. 250 g/person) and two portions of fruit (approx. 150 g/person). All countries, excluding Greece, had a vegetable intake below the recommended minimum. Moreover, in all countries, the percentages of low vegetable consumers were significantly higher than those of low fruit consumers, suggesting that there is considerable room for improvement in the intake of vegetables, an important source of antioxidants. Wild edible greens are among the vegetables commonly consumed in Greece. These greens have a high flavonoid content, which in several cases substantially exceeds the respective values in foods and beverages, such as onions, black tea and red wine (Food Chemistry 2000; 70, 319-323). The high flavonoid content of edible wild greens requires consideration of their role in contemporary diet, as a possible mean for increasing vegetable consumption.

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