Regular consumption of fruits and vegetables (FV) is widely regarded as an important contributor to a healthy diet. Inadequate consumption of plant foods is associated with an inadequate supply of important micronutrients like vitamins, phytochemicals and minerals. In athletes a deficit of these micronutrients can lead to excessive production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species that induce tissue damage, a higher frequency of inflammatory processes, decreased immunity, increased susceptibility to injury, and prolonged recovery. But many athletes rarely achieve the recommended intake of FV due to difficult coordination of training activities and food intake, or due to problems with digestion of FV. Therefore, in recent years more and more sports people have adopted supplemental FV concentrates to work around timing problems with uptake and the detrimental digestive effects during training of high FV intake. It is thought that supplementation of an athlete's basic diet with mixed FV concentrates can promote stable health and immunity, in order to provide a basis for optimal adaptation and performance. The intention of this article is to build a bridge between the science behind FV supplementation in exercise on the one hand and the practical relevance of its application on the other. For that purpose this paper addresses three questions: Is supplementation with a mixed FV concentrate to the athlete's diet appropriate to ensure stable health and immunity? Can supplementation with a mixed FV concentrate improve performance? Counseling guidance: how can sport nutrition advisors decide whether or not to supplement with mixed FV concentrates?
Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.