One hypothesis to account for the dramatic increase of inflammatory driven diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and others, across the world is the coincidental displacement of fruits and vegetables in the diet with processed foods as populations in the developing world rapidly acculturate to a more affluent lifestyle. Fruits are rich sources of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory natural compounds that offset many of the biological events leading to the development of the above-mentioned chronic diseases. In this review, potentially cancer-protective phytochemicals in fruits are reviewed to describe the research approaches, the range of chemistry and mechanisms seen in the study of the health benefits of fruit phytochemicals. Furthermore, given the rapid increase in research, public's interest in the health benefits of food, and the government's and food industry's efforts to develop and promote healthy foods, fruit breeders have begun to investigate the feasibility of developing health-enhanced fruit cultivars. Thus far, there appears to be ample genetic variability within fruit crops to develop cultivars with higher levels of plant phytochemicals, such as total phenolics, anthocyanins, and antioxidant activity. Nevertheless, selecting breeding targets is elusive as there is little information on which specific phytochemical or combination of phytochemicals and the levels needed to effectively enhance the health of the consuming public.
- Cardio vascular disease
- Chronic diseases
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)