Importance Of Vegetables

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INTRODUCTION
The importance of vegetables in human nutrition has been well known since the dawn of human civilization. The vegetables are considered as a natural treasure of nutrients gifted by God to human beings. They constitute an important part of our daily diet and not only embellish our dining table, but also enrich the human health by providing cheaper sources of vitamins, minerals and fibers. They play a pivotal role in countervailing the acids produced during the digestion of fats and proteins and also provide valuable roughages, which stimulate digestion and help in checking chronic constipation (Rasmussen et al., 2006). Besides, vegetables are home for diverse varieties of health benefiting phytochemicals having antioxidant, antifungal, anti-viral, antibacterial and anticarcinogenic properties (Gruda, 2005; Steinmetz, 1996). India ranks second in vegetable production in the world, producing 162.2 million tonnes contributing 14% of total world production of vegetables (FAO website – February, 2014 and Indian Horticulture Database, 2013). In India vegetables occupied an area of 8.5 million hectares during 2010-11 which increased to 9.2 million hectares with a total production of 162.2 million metric tons during 2012-2013. The trends are shown in Fig.1. Figure: 1. Area, Production & Productivity of Vegetables (Source: Indian Horticultural Database 2013). The per capita consumption of vegetables in our country is still lower than the standards

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