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Carotenoids in Green Vegetables and Health Aspects

Abstract

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommended increased consumption of vegetables, particularly dark green vegetables, one of the vegetable subgroups. Green vegetables are good sources of vitamins such as A (as precursor carotenoids such as β-carotene), C, K, and folate, and minerals including potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium. Carotenoids, natural pigments in green vegetables and other foods, may help prevent chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, and eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration, although some results are inconclusive. In particular, lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoid pigments, have been studied for their role in preventing eye disease. Many dark green leafy vegetables, both cultivated and wild, exist worldwide, and people in developing countries may improve their nutrition, food security, and personal livelihood by using wild vegetation. Researchers continue to identify and characterize the components of cultivated and wild greens potentially responsible for their health benefits. To foster increased consumption of vegetables, many multifaceted community-, school-, and/or home-based strategies have shown potential to increase the consumption of vegetables among children and adults.

Keywords

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Pigments
  • Lutein
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Health
  • Chronic disease

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Fig. 12.1

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Acknowledgments

The author expresses appreciation to graduate students Rebecca West, for conducting a thorough literature search, and Kimberly Beauchamp, for her thoughtful review.

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Garden-Robinson, J. (2015). Carotenoids in Green Vegetables and Health Aspects. In: Chen, C. (eds) Pigments in Fruits and Vegetables. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-2356-4_12

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