Fresh fruits and vegetables are an important source of vitamins and it is very important to eat them regularly.
The connection between nutrition and health is becoming more apparent, as numerous studies show a strong link between health and the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Nutritious properties of fruits and vegetables are based on their chemical composition, where the most important ingredients are: water, carbohydrates, raw fiber and phytochemicals (antioxidants).
Fruits and vegetables are rich in carbohydrates of various structures, ranging from simple sugars such as glucose and fructose, to complex carbohydrates: cellulose, hemicellulose, inulin and others. Carbohydrates are a significant source of energy in various weight-loss diets, because they are absorbed more slowly in the digestive tract due to the consistency of the fruits, especially when compared to most confectionery products and other sugar-based foods in industrial mass production.
Phytochemicals in fresh fruits and vegetables are products of plant metabolism, and they play a very important role in the human diet, because they protect the organism and strengthen the immunity. Phytochemicals primarily include: minerals, vitamins, enzymes, fruit acids, chlorophyll, carotenoids, flavonoids, polyphenols, betalains, various glycosides, alkaloids, isothiocyanate, capsaicin, terpenes, phytosterols and other microconstituents, all of which are of great importance for health.
Serbia has such climate that fresh fruits and vegetables retain a lot of minerals, giving them full flavor and a rich aroma, which is why they are most effective when consumed fresh.
Fruit has always been a source of pleasure for humans. When we think about fruit, we usually visualize the juicy, sweet fruit that we all appreciate and love. Fruit provides energy, because the human body easily uses the natural sugar which is its important constituent. Most of the fruit species contain small amounts of proteins and trace amounts of fats. First and foremost, fruit is a good source of vitamins and minerals, and in addition contains the indigestible plant fibers, which the human digestion needs.
There is a longstanding tradition of the production of plums, raspberries, apples and cherries in Serbia, and that is one of the reasons why these species are the most significant for fruit production in this country.
Vegetables have always played an important role in the life of humans. Two thousand years ago, the famous Greek physician Hippocrates said "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food".
Fresh vegetables have the highest biological and nutritious value, primarily as a source of vitamins and minerals. Regular consumption of vegetables, especially fresh, is a basic human need.
Nutritious and biologically active (protective) substances in vegetables are what makes them such an important part of our diet. Dietetic components of vegetables are very important, especially: beta-carotene (provitamin A), vitamin C, B vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and the so-called “secondary substances” that give medicinal properties to some types of vegetables.
Serbia has a great potential when it comes to growing vegetables. More and more vegetable species are grown each year. The largest part of the produced vegetables are consumed in the domestic market, while only a part is exported in fresh state.