Dietary intake of phytonutrients in relation to fruit and vegetable consumption in Korea

J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013 Sep;113(9):1194-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2013.04.022. Epub 2013 Jul 3.


The purpose of this study was to provide baseline data for health policy creation by estimating phytonutrient intake and identifying major food sources of phytonutrients. Dietary recall data collected in the 2008 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and phytonutrient database of the Korea National Academy of Agricultural Science were used in this study. The proportions of the population satisfying recommended dietary guidelines for fruits and vegetables were estimated, and phytonutrient intake was compared between populations who consumed the recommended intake and those who did not. The study found that 5.3% of subjects satisfied the recommended fruit and vegetable intake. In particular, the proportions of adolescents (13 to 18 years of age) and young adults (19 to 39 years of age) meeting the recommended fruit and vegetable intake were lower than other age groups (P<0.001). Intakes of major carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein/zeaxanthin, and lycopene), flavonoids (anthocyanidins, hesperitin, quercetin, catechin, and isoflavones), and one phenolic compound (gallic acid) were significantly higher (P<0.001) among subjects who met the recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption compared with those who did not. Carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes, and watermelons were found to be major sources of carotenoids. Flavonoids were mainly obtained from persimmons, mandarins, apples, grapes, onions, soybeans, and chestnuts. However, one or two food items contributed to nearly all intake of each phytonutrient, suggesting a lack of variety. In conclusion, the Korean population needs to consume a larger quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables.

Keywords: Fruit; Phytonutrient; Vegetables.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Carotenoids / administration & dosage*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet*
  • Flavonoids / administration & dosage*
  • Fruit*
  • Gallic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Nutritive Value
  • Republic of Korea
  • Tea
  • Vegetables*
  • Young Adult


  • Flavonoids
  • Tea
  • Carotenoids
  • Gallic Acid