Some Misconceptions About Fruit and Vegetables in Human Nutrition

in HortTechnology
Author: J.B. Magee1
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  • 1 Research horticulturist, USDA-ARS, Small Fruit Research Station, Poplarville, MS 39470.

The origins, demise and current status of some common misconceptions about the role of fruit and vegetables in human nutrition are discussed. Most, but not all, of the misconceptions were held by the public. The early widespread belief that tomatoes were poisonous was gradually overcome, and today the tomato is one of the most versatile and widely used foods in the diet. Recent reports suggest that consumption of tomatoes and tomato products has the potential to reduce the risk of certain cancers. Our current awareness of the potential of spinach in nutrition and health evolved from an early misconception that its only important nutritive value was as a source of iron. The connection between foods from the nightshade family and arthritis and the connection of cherries and gout relief are discussed briefly. The misconception that a wide variety of fruit and vegetables was not needed in the human diet was rejected long ago. Today fruit and vegetables are considered essential for their intrinsic nutritive value and for their potential health functionality because of the phytochemicals they contain.

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