Glossary of Terms
These substances are found in fruits and vegetables and help guard our bodies against "free radicals" — highly reactive molecules that may damage healthy cells. Antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, and selenium. Fruits and vegetables also contain hundreds of natural plant-based compounds, or phytochemicals, many of which have antioxidant capacity.
Percent of the Daily Value, or the amount of a nutrient present in a serving of food/beverage expressed as a percentage of the recommended daily intake of the nutrient by the FDA. Although separate Daily Values are established for children under 4 years of age and for 2,500-calorie diets, the label generally expresses the Daily Value for a 2,000-calorie diet.
Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain two types of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble.
The type of dietary fiber that dissolves in water and turns to gel during digestion — which helps to slow digestion and the rate of nutrient absorption and helps maintain regularity. The soluble fiber in apple is called pectin. Soluble fiber may help regulate blood sugar levels and has a favorable effect on blood cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of heart disease.*
The type of dietary fiber that gives structure to plant cell walls. This bulky fiber speeds the passage of foods through the digestive tract and is important for maintaining regularity.
Plant-based compounds that may confer health benefits beyond normal nutrition through their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory or other mechanisms. Many of the bright colors, flavors and aromas in fruits and vegetables come from phytonutrients.
Chemical substances found in plants that research indicates may have antioxidant characteristics with potential health benefits. They may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
An electrolyte and mineral that plays a major role in maintaining fluid and acid-base balance and assists in regulating neuromuscular activity.
One of the hundreds of phytonutrients in the flavonoid class, quercetin is thought to have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Apples are a natural source of quercetin and have higher levels than many other fruits (approx. 4.42 mg/100 g fresh apple**). Other sources include red grapes, onions and tea.
A water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant. Vitamin C helps to promote a healthy immune system and plays a role in skin and cartilage formation. Other sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, leafy vegetables and strawberries.
* Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fruits, vegetables and grain products that contain some types of dietary fiber, particularly soluble fiber, may reduce the risk of heart disease, a disease associated with many factors.
** USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods. March 2003.