Clin Nutr. 2021 Feb 24;40(4):1510-1518. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.02.024. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Previous studies, mainly focused on quantity rather than variety, have shown beneficial associations between the amount of fruit and vegetable consumed, diet quality and healthy lifestyle. The aim is to evaluate the association between fruit and vegetable consumption, diet quality and lifestyle in an elderly Mediterranean population, considering both variety and the combination of quantity and variety (QV).
METHODS: A cross-sectional analysis of 6647 participants (51.6% of males) was conducted in the framework of the PREDIMED-Plus study. A variety score was created as the sum of vegetables and/or fruits consumed at least once per month using food frequency questionnaires. Dietary Reference Intakes (EAR and IA values) were used to estimate the prevalence of inadequate intake of dietary fiber and micronutrients. Logistic regression models were performed to examine the association between fruit and vegetable consumption and not meeting the DRIs, by tertiles of fruit and vegetable variety and QV categories.
RESULTS: Participants with higher fruit and vegetable variety score reported a significant higher intake of fiber, vitamins, minerals and flavonoids and were significantly more likely to be physically active and non-smoker. Besides, higher variety in fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with lower prevalence of having an inadequate intake of fiber [(0.13 (0.11-0.16)], two or more [(0.17 (0.14-0.21)], three or more [(0.15 (0.13-0.18)] and four or more [(0.11 (0.10-0.14)] micronutrients in our participants. Higher quantity and variety in fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with lower prevalence of having an inadequate intake of fiber [(0.05 (0.04-0.06)], two or more [(0.08 (0.06-0.10)], three or more [(0.08 (0.06-0.09)] and four or more [(0.06 (0.05-0.07)] micronutrients.
CONCLUSION: Greater variety in fruit and vegetable intake was associated with better nutrient adequacy, diet quality and healthier lifestyle in an elderly Mediterranean population.