Fruits and vegetables are an important component of an individual’s dietary intake. They are a good source of nutrients vitamins and minerals. The recent change in climatic conditions such as global warming, changes in seasonal and monsoon pattern and biotic and abiotic factors are having adverse effects on the crops. The consequences of climate change badly hit the vegetable production. Under changing climatic situations crop failures, shortage of yields, reduction in quality and increasing pest and disease problems are common and they render the vegetable cultivation unprofitable. This ultimately questions the availability of nutrient source in human diet.

Declining nutritional value

Delayed monsoons result in water shortage consequently resulting in a below average production of fruits and vegetables. This holds true for major drought prone regions in India, such as southern and eastern Maharashtra, northern Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat, and Rajasthan. High temperatures and inadequate rainfall at the time of sowing and heavy rainfall at the time of harvesting cause severe crop losses in Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Karnataka. These climatic changes have potentially modified the physiology and resistance capabilities of the plants ultimately resulting in declining nutritional value of the fruits and vegetables.

The intake of traditionally grown fruits and vegetables are in no way benefiting human health. The exponential growth in cases of cardiovascular diseases and cancer correlate with environmental factors, including one’s dietary habits. One third of all cancers, are avoidable by changing dietary habits only. Some cancers are preventable to a large extent by including enough fruits and vegetables in the diet.  But these fruits and vegetables should have high nutritional value.

Risk of chronic diseases

The link between high dietary intake of fruits and vegetables rich in phytochemicals and lowered risks of chronic diseases presents a new opportunity to mitigate such diseases through the development of food crops with uniformly high levels of naturally occurring antioxidants.

In recent years, there has been growing evidence that fruits and vegetables consumption is related to mortality, including mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer. The results, however, are not entirely consistent. While several studies found that consumption was associated with a lower risk of mortality, no significant differences in risk of mortality were observed between vegetarians and non-vegetarians in a British population. In most studies, the association has been examined by categorising the main variable into fourths or fifths of daily consumption. There exists much uncertainty about the dose-response relation between consumption and the risk of mortality, especially for cancer, as recent large prospective studies have found no or minimal effects of consumption on overall cancer incidence or mortality.

‘Super’ Fruits

Designer or Super fruits refer to normal fruits fortified with health promoting ingredients. These foods are similar in appearance to normal foods and are consumed regularly as a part of diet. They are produced by the process of fortification or nutrification. These fruits and vegetables are deemed “super” by nutrition scientists are packed with antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients that can help you live longer, look better, and even prevent disease.

Consumption of super fruits and vegetables has been recommended as a key component of a healthy diet for the prevention of chronic diseases. Cardiovascular disease and cancer are the two leading causes of death worldwide. Factors that can reduce the occurrence of these important diseases could contribute to important improvements in health and longevity of humans.These super fruits and vegetables are ruling the markets in western countries like Canada and America. People are convinced with the high nutritional value they claim. India is yet to receive the benefits of these nutritionally fortified fruits.