The Effects of a Green-Yellow Vegetable Diet in Chinese Kindergarten Children

Greenyellow vegetable diet

Greens supply vitamins and a host of health-promoting phytochemicals, or plant chemicals, including carotenoids. They’re a top choice for fighting inflammation, which contributes to heart disease, cancer and other conditions.

A diet rich in green and yellow vegetables can help prevent macular degeneration, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, protect against urinary tract diseases, improve skin health and boost immune system function. They also contain folic acid, which is important for pregnant women to reduce the risk of birth defects.

Researchers studied the effects of a green-yellow vegetable diet in Chinese kindergarten children, who normally consume 2 meals and 2 snacks per day at school. During the 10-wk study, each child was assigned to either a group that ate dark-green leafy vegetables and yellow-colored vegetables or a control group that consumed only light-colored vegetables. The groups’ intakes of energy, fat, protein, preformed vitamin A, dietary fiber and calcium were the same as those reported by their parents. The daily amount of lutein, zeaxanthin and other provitamin A carotenoids in the green-yellow vegetable group was higher than that of the control group.

Each day, the children in the green-yellow vegetable group ate 238 g of dark-green leafy and yellow-colored vegetables such as spinach, Chinese chive, kohlrabi and carrots, and 34 g of other vegetables such as cabbage, potato, cucumber and turnip. They also ate a similar amount of nongreen vegetables such as white potatoes, sweet potato and red yam. The group receiving green-yellow vegetables also ate 56 g of other carotenoids such as b-carotene, -carotene and 13-cis-b-carotene.

The green-yellow vegetable diet significantly increased the levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in the bloodstream and the liver, and decreased those of a-carotene and -carotene. Liver and blood retinol concentrations in the group receiving the green-yellow vegetables were also increased, but these increases were not statistically significant. The effect of the green-yellow vegetable diet was accompanied by a decrease in lipid peroxidation and an increase in plasma soluble vitamin C.

Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are rich in a variety of nutrients, including carotenoids such as lycopene, which is a potent scavenger of gene-damaging free radicals and seems to protect against prostate cancer and heart disease. They are also a good source of vitamin A, which protects the eyes against age-related macular degeneration and provides anti-inflammatory benefits. Enjoy these fruits and veggies in salads, soups, roasted form and stir-fries.