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Critical Review

Vegetables and fruit in prevention of chronic diseases

Vegetables and fruit provide a significant part of human nutrition, as they are important sources of nutrients, dietary fibre, and phytochemicals. However, it is uncertain whether the risk of certain chronic diseases can be reduced by increased consumption of vegetables or fruit by the general public, and what strength of evidence has to be allocated to such an association.

Vegetables and fruit are extremely important in human nutrition as sources of nutrients and non-nutritive food constituents as well as for the reduction in disease risks. While their importance as sources of nutrients and non-nutritive food constituents is generally accepted, there are still uncertainties regarding their relevance for the prevention of diseases. For this reason, it has to be determined first, for which diseases studies have detected an association between the consumption of vegetables and fruit and the risk of disease, and subsequently, how this association has to be judged. Eur J Nutr 2012; 51: 637-663