Almost eight in 10 individuals are missing out on the health benefits of a diet rich in colourful fruits and vegetables, which leads to a phytonutrient gap with potential health consequences, according to America's Phytonutrient Report.
The new report has highlighted that the colour of fruits and veggies eaten can be as important as the quantity.
"Many phytonutrients are powerful antioxidants that can help fight the damage caused to our bodies' cells over time that can lead to premature aging and disease. The fact that Americans are falling short in phytonutrient-rich fruits and vegetables measured in the report is concerning," said Dr. Stephen Fortmann, director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center at Stanford University.
America's Phytonutrient Report was conducted by Exponent for Nutrilite, the world's leading brand of vitamin, mineral, and dietary supplements, using National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) and USDA data which captures what Americans eat daily.
The report looked at fruit and vegetable consumption in five colour categories, specifically green, red, white, blue/purple and yellow/orange.
The health benefits of phytonutrients are believed to come from the compounds that give these foods their vibrant reds, yellows, greens and other rich colours.
Americans have a phytonutrient gap in every colour category.
The findings showed that the biggest phytonutrient gap was found in the blue/purple fruit and vegetable category where 88 percent of Americans fall short.
Americans are doing a little better on getting phytonutrients found in green fruits and vegetables - 69 percent fall short.
Seventy-eight percent of Americans are falling short in the red, 86 percent in white and 79 percent in orange/yellow.
"America's Phytonutrient Report illustrates that we need to think about more than just quantity when it comes to our fruits and vegetables," said Amy Hendel, a registered physician assistant and health/wellness expert.
She is working with the Nutrilite brand on a new campaign to educate people about phytonutrients and the importance of eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
"A daily dose of color could result in positive health benefits," added Hendel.