Health Benefits of Dietary Plant Natural Products

  • Maria Traka
  • Richard F. MithenEmail author


During the last few decades it has become widely reported that diets rich in fruit and vegetables reduce the risk of chronic disease such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, and that these beneficial effects are at least partially mediated by secondary metabolites that occur in these foods. Recent prospective epidemiological studies have provided further support for the protective effects of diets rich in fruits and vegetables towards cardiovascular disease, but, in general, less support for protective effects towards cancer, with some notable exceptions such as diets that are rich in cruciferous vegetables. Here, we review the epidemiological and experimental evidence for health benefits of diets rich in fruits and vegetables and certain classes of secondary metabolites, and then focus on the role of flavonoids, which are wide spread in fruits and vegetables, in providing protection against cardiovascular disease, and glucosinolates and their derivatives, which, within food plants, are largely restricted to the Brassicaceae, in reducing the risk of cancer.


Chinese Cabbage Cruciferous Vegetable Brussels Sprout Plant Natural Product GSTM1 Genotype 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Food ResearchNorwichUK

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