2022, VOL. 8 ISSUE 1, PART A
Phytochemicals can be described as chemicals of plant origin. These are certain non-nutritive plant chemicals which have various disease preventive properties. However, the term phytochemical is often used to describe a varied range of bioactive compounds found in plants. These are primary and secondary metabolites which are naturally occurring in the leaves, vegetables and roots that have defence mechanisms and protect from various diseases. Primary metabolites are proteins, carbohydrates, chlorophyll, lipids and common sugars which are synthesised during photosynthesis and these organic compounds are essential for plant life and growth. Secondary metabolites are tannins, flavonoids, phenolic, saponins and alkaloids which are synthesized by the plant during development and are time, tissue and organ specific.
Several epidemiological studies have shown that phytochemical rich fruits and vegetables have considerable health benefits. These benefits include: (i) reducing the risk of several types of cancer, (ii) reducing the risk of heart diseases. The consumption of fruit and vegetable is associated with several health benefits.
The present study was aimed on the assessment of nutritional status and academic performance in relation to phytochemical intake of adolescents. The study was performed on a sample size of 60 school going adolescents (30 girls and 30 boys) between the age group 12-16 years. The adolescents consuming fruits and vegetables in their regular diet reported to have good nutritional status. In the intervention community, the academic output was also increased. The research concluded that the intake of phytochemical rich fruits and vegetables has a positive impact on nutritional status and academic performance of school going adolescents.