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Plant Cell. 2011 Jul;23(7):2483-97. doi: 10.1105/tpc.111.087916. Epub 2011 Jul 29.

Plant science and human nutrition: challenges in assessing health-promoting properties of phytochemicals.

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  • 1Institute of Food Research, Norwich Research Park, Norwich NR47UA, United Kingdom.


The rise in noncommunicable chronic diseases associated with changing diet and lifestyles throughout the world is a major challenge for society. It is possible that certain dietary components within plants have roles both in reducing the incidence and progression of these diseases. We critically review the types of evidence used to support the health promoting activities of certain phytochemicals and plant-based foods and summarize the major contributions but also the limitations of epidemiological and observational studies and research with the use of cell and animal models. We stress the need for human intervention studies to provide high-quality evidence for health benefits of dietary components derived from plants.

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