Misconceptions of Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Quality

in HortScience
Author: James B. Magee1
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  • 1 USDA/ARS Small Fruit Research Station, P.O. Box 287, Poplarville, MS 39470

Many concepts of the nutritional value of fruit and vegetables generally accepted in the past, in the light of more knowledge, today are considered “misconceptions.” For example, the tomato, once considered poisonous, then shown edible, later proved to be a “good” food and a valuable source of minerals and vitamin C, today shows the potential for significant anti-cancer activity. Results of a 6-year study of the dietary habits of 47,000 men reported up to a 45% reduction in the incidence of prostate cancer of those who ate 10 or more servings per week of tomato-based products. Other misconceptions to be discussed include nightshade vegetables and arthritis, apples after meals to clean the teeth and gums, and “if a little is good for you, a lot must be better.” Today's nutritional ideas about many fruits and vegetables may become tomorrow's misconceptions as our knowledge of the composition (e.g., phytochemicals) of fruits and vegetables increases. Examples of this are include the use of muscadine pomace and the nutritive value of strawberries.

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