Horticultural crops and Human Nutrition
Fruits and vegetables play an important role in balanced diet. These provide not only
energy rich food but also provide vital protective nutrients/elements and vitamins. Comparatively
fruits and vegetables are the cheapest source of natural nutritive foods. Since most of Indians are
vegetarians, the incorporation of horticulture produce in daily diet is essential for good health.
With the growing awareness and inclination towards vegetarianism worldwide the horticulture
crops are gaining tremendous importance.
Functions of fruits and vegetables in human body:
1. Fruits and vegetables provide palatability, taste, improve appetite and provide fibre thereby the constipation can be overcome.
2. They neutralize the acids produced during digestion of proteins and fatty acids.
3. They improve the general immunity of human body against diseases, deficiencies etc.
4. They are the important source of vitamins and minerals for used in several bio-chemical
reactions occur in body.
Fruits provide higher energy value per unit area compared to cereals. Some of the essential
nutrients provided by different fruits are:
Role in human body Source
1. Essential for growth and reproduction.
2. Helps in resistance to infections, increases longevity and decreases senility.
3. Deficiency causes, night blindness, xeropthalmia, retardation in growth, roughness in skin,
formation of stones in kidney. Eg. Mango, Papaya, Persimon, Dates, Jack fruit, Walnut, Oranges,
Passion fruit, Loquât etc.
Vitamin – B2
1. Important for growth, health of skin and for respiration in poorly vascularised tissue such as
2. Deficiency causes pellagra and alopecia, loss of appetite, loss of weight, sore throat,
development of cataract, swollen nose and baldness. Eg. Bael, Papaya, Litchi, Pomegranate,
Wood apple and Pineapple.
Vitamin – C
1. Deficiency causes scurvy, pain in joints, swelling of limbs, unhealthy gums, tooth decay, delay
in wound healing and rheumatism. Eg. Barbados cherry, Aonla, Guava, Lime, Lemon, Sweet
oranges, Ber, Pineapple and Pear.
Vitamin – B1
1 . Essential for the maintains of good appetite and normal digestion.
2. Necessary for growth, fertility, lactation and for normal functioning of nervous system.
3. Deficiency causes beri-beri, paralysis, loss the sensitivity of skin, enlargement of heart, loss
of appetite and fall in body temperature. Eg. Walnut, Apricot, Apple, Banana, Grapefruit, Plum
Minerals are essential for the growth and development for the human body
Calcium Causes Rickets, Osteomalacia. Sitaphal, Ramphal, Fig, Phalsa, Citrus, Sapota, Grapes, West Indian Cherry etc. Fruits are also a good source of energy eg. Avocado, Olive etc. They are also a good source of enzymes which are helpful in metabolic activities leading to proper digestion of food. Eg. Jamun and Papaya. All fruits have one or the other medicinal value. Regular consumption of fruits reduces obesity, maintain health and increase the longevity of life.
Features of horticulture in general
Horticultural produces are mostly utilized in the fresh state and are highly perishable in
Horticultural crops need intensive cultivation, requires large input of capital, labour and
technology per unit area.
Cultural operations such as propagation, training, pruning and harvesting are skilled and
specific to horticultural crops.
Horticultural produce are the rich sources of vitamins and minerals and alkaloids.
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