Sufficient and regular consumption of fruits and vegetables (FV) is commonly regarded as an essential nutritional, preventive activity to maintain health. A lot of scientific publications demonstrate that adequate consumption of plant foods is associated with a decreased risk of chronic degenerative diseases, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes or certain types of cancer (Bazzano et al., 2008; Dauchet et al., 2005, ; Iqbal et al., 2008; Joshipura et al., 1999; Ness and Powles, 1997; Nikolić et al., 2008; Nöthlings et al., 2008; Pomerleau et al., 2006; Steinmetz and Potter, 1996; Wright et al., 2008; Yamaji et al., 2008). The risk-reducing effects are attributed to bioactive components including phytochemicals, phytonutrients and vitamins, minerals and fibre (Brown et al., 1999; Dragsted et al., 2004; Herrera et al., 2009; Lampe, 1999).
Around the world, various Public Health Nutrition strategies such as ‘5 a day’ are applied to encourage people to increase consumption of FV. However, these have met with limited success: nutrition reports and surveys reveal that people consume about 300 g of FV per day (Billson et al., 1999; Casagrande et al., 2007; Elmadfa et al., 2008; German Ministry for Nutrition, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, 2011; Naska et al., 2000), far less than the recommended 400 g up to 650 g per day (Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, 1998; United States Department of Agriculture, 2010; WHO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2003).
Many people rarely achieve the recommended intake of FV due to several reasons such as taste preferences, convenience, availability, difficult coordination with their working world, ignorance and so on. FV consumption before exercise training can also lead to digestive discomfort during exercise due to the high fructose and fibre content (Ivy and Portman, 2004; Lamprecht and Smekal, 2004). Inadequate FV intake in a person’s daily diet can lead to underconsumption of bioactive compounds. This situation provides a rationale for offering concentrated FV nutrition, especially for exercising people.
A well-balanced mixture of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and other bioactives from a variety of FV may lead to additive and synergistic interactions in human metabolism that result in health benefits (Liu, 2003; Oude Griep et al., 2010). Hence, to bring as many as possible of these FV bioactives together in one supplement might be superior to supplements containing only vitamins, phytochemicals, juice or powder from just one or a few fruits and/or vegetables.
This chapter refers to studies that used supplementation with mixed FV concentrates in relation to exercising people and their redox and immune system, independent of the training status. We address three questions:
Can supplementation with mixed FV concentrates modulate redox homeostasis in exercising people?
Can supplementation with mixed FV concentrates modulate the immune system of exercising people?
How can sport nutrition advisors decide whether or not to supplement with mixed FV concentrates?
A search of Medline/PubMed and the Cochrane library returned six original articles—with only one FV concentrate (Juice Plus + ®, NSA LLC, Collierville, TN, USA)—that pertain to exercising people and their redox and immune systems.
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