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Review Article
 

Nutraceuticals from Fruits and Vegetables at a Glance: A Review



Mahima , Amit Kumar Verma, Ruchi Tiwari, K. Karthik, Sandip Chakraborty, Rajib Deb and Kuldeep Dhama
 
ABSTRACT

Earth is rich in variety of plant species including the beneficial one having some medicinal properties. The use of herbal medicines for the treatment of various diseases like hepatitis, arthritis, chronic heart diseases, skin disorders, wounds and even cancer have been mentioned in our ‘ayurveda’ and proved scientifically by many researchers of modern times. Now-a-days, fruits and vegetables are gaining popularity in medicine for treating mastitis, foot-and-mouth disease, skin allergies, hypersensitivity reaction, tympany, food poisoning, retention of placenta etc. These medicines are suitable for both the human as well as animals being cost economic and without side effects. Out of 21,000 medicinal plants listed by World Health organization, 2,500 species are found in India making India the largest potential producer of medicinal herbs. The plant or herbs particularly the fruits and vegetables are the cheapest and most common store of nutrients viz., carbohydrates, protein, vitamin, minerals and essential amino acids along with dietary fiber and thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and obesity. Apart from this, fruits and vegetables also supply additional vitamins and minerals to the diet and are important sources of phytochemicals that play important role as antioxidants, phytoestrogens and anti-inflammatory agents and through various protective mechanisms. Fruits and vegetables have the potential to develop nutritional ingredients and supplements, causing a change in the perception of horticultural crops and products and helps in anaerobic digestion. The present review discusses the role of fiber and health benefits of fruits and vegetables for humans and their companion animals.

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Mahima , Amit Kumar Verma, Ruchi Tiwari, K. Karthik, Sandip Chakraborty, Rajib Deb and Kuldeep Dhama, 2013. Nutraceuticals from Fruits and Vegetables at a Glance: A Review. Journal of Biological Sciences, 13: 38-47.

DOI: 10.3923/jbs.2013.38.47

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=jbs.2013.38.47
 
Received: December 26, 2012; Accepted: February 12, 2013; Published: April 11, 2013

INTRODUCTION

In modern days, planet is having various problems like increase in population, unemployment, loss of ethical values (Mahima et al., 2012a; 2011), increase in the incidences of pathogens and diseases like arcobacter (Patyal et al., 2011), salmonellosis (Verma et al., 2007), foot-and-mouth disease (Verma et al., 2008, 2012), campylobacteriosis (Kumar et al., 2012a), development of resistance to antibacterial (Verma et al., 2007; Lambey et al., 2009; Kumar et al., 2011; Kumar et al., 2012a, b) and antiviral drugs. These problems have forced the scientists and researchers to think about the natural or alternative medicines and their applications (Hashemi and Davoodi, 2012). Earth is rich in variety of plant species including the beneficial one having some medicinal properties. Some of these have been used since a longtime for the immunomodulation to prevent or treat the diseases (Mahima et al., 2012b). Herbal medicines have always been a form of therapy for livestock among resource poor marginal farmers (Tan and Vanitha, 2004; Alamgir and Uddin, 2010; Mizaei-Aghsaghali, 2012). The use of herbal medicines for the treatment of various diseases like hepatitis, arthritis, chronic heart diseases, skin disorders, wounds and even cancer have been mentioned in our ‘ayurveda’ and proved scientifically by many researchers of modern times (Mathew et al., 2010; Umashanker and Shruti, 2011). Now-a-days, herbs are also gaining popularity in veterinary medicine for treating mastitis, foot-and-mouth disease, skin allergies, food poisoning, tympany, expulsion of placenta, etc. These medicines are suitable for both the human as well as animals being cost economic and without side effects (Rahal and Kumar, 2009). Out of 21,000 plants listed by World Health organization, 2,500 species are found in India declaring the tremendous potential of the country as making India the largest producer of medicinal herbs.

The Plants, or herbs particularly the fruits and vegetables are the cheapest and most common store of nutrients viz., carbohydrates, protein, vitamin, minerals and essential amino acids (Murphy et al., 2012; Bumgarner et al., 2012). Apart from that they can also be helpful in treating various diseases (Mahima et al., 2012b). Fruits and vegetables vary in their composition like energy contents, vitamin and mineral contents, fibre contents. Their fiber contents further aid in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity (Weingartner et al., 2008). Fruits and vegetables are important source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial phytochemicals (Goff and Klee, 2006) and at the same time of those phytochemicals that are having antioxidant properties (Table 1, 2), thereby having a beneficiary effect in patients having coronary heart disease (Hasler, 2005). They share their role either as a cooked delicacy or as a part of the raw salad. The present review discusses the different scientifically validated medicinal role of fruits and vegetables along with their major phytoconstituents important health promotion and protection of human beings and their companion animals (Kalra, 2003; Hui et al., 2010).

In general, fruits and vegetables are the best examples of edible plant harvests, with a potential to develop nutritional ingredients and supplements, causing a change in the perception of horticultural crops and products (Khanuja and Shukla, 2011). Fruits like berries, bananas (Musa spp.), grape (Vitis vinifera), watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), citrus fruits like orange (Citrus sinensis) and lemon (Citrus limon) and vegetables viz. tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), carrot (Daucus carota), bael (Aegle marmelos), pomegranate (Punica granatum), ginger (Zingiber officinale) etc., are having nutraceutical potential. Such lists are ever expanding with emerging research leads across the globe (Tikunov et al., 2010).

Benefits of fruits and vegetables as green salad: Although all vegetables are beneficial, but, interestingly, raw leafy vegetables, having highest levels of vitamins and minerals, offer added benefits by adding roughage and bulk and prevent the drying out of intestinal contents. Raw vegetables are generally used as salad, which help to maintain the gastrointestinal motility and its health (www.ezhealthydiet.com). A plate of salad may include a large variety like cabbage, carrot, radish, tomato, onion, turnip, arugula, broccoli, spinach, kale, cabbage, dandelion greens, swiss chard and watercress. The other benefits of green salad include:

Provide intense flavour, vivid colours and crispy rich texture to the dine menu (Xiao et al., 2012)
Helpful in weight management through controlling hunger (Ello-Martin et al., 2005)
Prevent constipation (as discussed above) and enhances gastrointestinal function (Wagensteen et al., 2004)
Reduce the chances of metabolic diseases viz., diabetes mellitus and hypercholesterolemia (Azadbakht et al., 2012).
Rich source of vitamins (vitamin B complex) and minerals (Logendra et al., 2002; Dahl et al., 2012)
Reduces oxidative stress (Esfahani et al., 2011)
Enhance immunity (Gibson et al., 2012)
Consumption of green salad reduces the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, central nervous system defects, neural tube defects (NTDs) in infants, megaloblastic anemia and cardiovascular disease (Adams et al., 2006; Vazquez-Prieto and Miatello, 2010; Esfahani et al., 2011; Wolfenden et al., 2012; Imai et al., 2012; Sun et al., 2012; Jin et al., 2012)
Mitigates the contaminant exposure and/or their adverse health effects (Gagne et al., 2013)

Apart from all the medicinal benefits, the fruits and vegetables like carrot, potato, soyabean, cowpea, can also be used as bioreactor, helping in anaerobic digestion. This permits conversion of organic matter 75%easily biodegradable matters like sugars and hemicellulose, 9% cellulose and 5% lignin to methane, the conversion rate being 70-95% (Bouallagui et al., 2005). Moreover, production of hormones, protein and even edible vaccine against various pathogens of man and animals including anthrax, E. coli, Japanese encephalitis, Helicobacter pylori, Hepatitis, corona pirus, parvovirus, papilloma virus, Newcastle disease (Yoshida et al., 2011; Ahmad et al., 2012; Hayden et al., 2012; Huy et al., 2012; Loza-Rubio et al., 2012; Shoji et al., 2012; Wang et al., 2012) are possible. These fruits and vegetables may be the source of various pathogens like norovirus, salmonella, E. coli O157, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Shigella, Listeria, nematode, trematodes and protozoa (Tunung et al., 2010; Schmid et al., 2011; Mercanoglu Taban and Halkman, 2011; Santana et al., 2012; Castro-Rosas et al., 2012); Huat et al., 2012); pesticides, insecticides and herbicides residues, if they are grown in contaminated water (Huat et al., 2012).

Table 1: Fruits, their scientific name, active principle and health benefits

Table 2: Vegetables their scientific name, active principle and health benefits

Therefore a due care is required, while consuming these fruits and vegetables, especially the green one as salad (Knee, 2002).

CONCLUSION AND FUTURE PROSPECTS

There is an increased awareness among the people for the beneficial effect of nutraceuticals in day to day life. Fruits and vegetables are commonly used by us can serve an important prophylactic and therapeutic role ingredient of food in our day to day life. Increase in their consumption is a potent practical strategy to optimize health of human as well as their companion animals. For a developing undernourished country like India, their plausible pivotal role in promotion of human and animal health and well being can never be exaggerated. Due to their multifactorial health benefits, they are designated as millennium food of century. The present information is just the beginning, yet a large volume of indigenous folklore and undiscovered values remains to be paved through. Therefore, there is an urgent need to explore the beneficial and medical properties of fruits and vegetables.

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