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Plant-Based Nutrition

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Phytochemicals and Human Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 April 2021) | Viewed by 63679

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plant-based dietary intervention studies have shown anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits linked to phytochemicals such as carotenoids and polyphenols, which could protect against chronic low-grade inflammation associated with metabolic disorders. Higher fiber intake from fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes has emerged as an important plant-based component towards the prevention of chronic disease. Dietary fiber intake is associated with better control of blood lipids and glycemia as well as anti-inflammatory effects via a variety of gut-directed metabolic pathways. The implicated processes include enhanced colonic carbohydrate fermentation to short chain fatty acids, improved gut hormone-based appetite regulation, and gut microbial enterotypes with higher abundance of Prevotella populations, among others.

The benefits of diets focused on plant food are also linked to lowered exposure to harmful components within animal foods, including environmental pollutants, nitrosamines from processed meats, carcinogens generated from cooking such as heterocyclic amines, and noxious compounds formed from upregulated colonic protein fermentation.

The health benefits of plant food dietary patterns are complex, and have been partially elucidated via omics assessments (metabolomics, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics), including the omics subdisciplines of foodomics, diseasomics, epigenomics, lipidomics, and interactomics.

Submission of research articles, systematic reviews, review articles, meta-analyses, and short communications on all the above topics are welcomed in this Special Issue of Nutrients entitled “Plant-Based Nutrition”.

Prof. Stan Kubow
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nutrients is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • plant foods
  • nutrition
  • animal protein health risks
  • phytochemicals
  • fiber
  • antioxidant
  • anti-inflammatory
  • metabolic disorders
  • gut microbiome
  • food synergy

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 2704 KiB  
Article
Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum L.) Extract Exerts Potential Vasculoprotective Effects in Ovariectomized Rats, Including Prevention of Elastin Degradation and Pathological Vascular Remodeling
by Kayo Horie, Naoki Nanashima, Hayato Maeda, Toshiko Tomisawa and Indrawati Oey
Nutrients 2021, 13(2), 560; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020560 - 8 Feb 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2522
Abstract
Estrogen exerts cardioprotective effects in menopausal women. Phytoestrogens are plant-derived substances exhibiting estrogenic activity that could beneficially affect vascular health. We previously demonstrated that blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum L.) extract (BCE) treatment exerted beneficial effects on vascular health via phytoestrogenic activity in ovariectomized [...] Read more.
Estrogen exerts cardioprotective effects in menopausal women. Phytoestrogens are plant-derived substances exhibiting estrogenic activity that could beneficially affect vascular health. We previously demonstrated that blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum L.) extract (BCE) treatment exerted beneficial effects on vascular health via phytoestrogenic activity in ovariectomized (OVX) rats, which are widely used as menopausal animal models. Here, we examined whether BCE treatment reduced elastin degradation and prevented pathological vascular remodeling in OVX rats fed a regular diet (OVX Control) or a 3% BCE-supplemented diet (OVX BCE), compared with sham surgery rats fed a regular diet (Sham) for 3 months. The results indicated a lower staining intensity of elastic fibers, greater elastin fragmentation, and higher α-smooth muscle actin protein expression in OVX Control rats than in OVX BCE and Sham rats. Pathological vascular remodeling was only observed in OVX Control rats. Additionally, we investigated matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-12 mRNA expression levels to elucidate the mechanism underlying elastin degradation, revealing significantly upregulated MMP-12 mRNA expression in OVX Control rats compared with that in Sham and OVX BCE rats. Together, we identify BCE as exerting a vascular protective effect through reduced MMP-12 expression and vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation. To our knowledge, this is the first report indicating that BCE might protect against elastin degradation and pathological vascular remodeling during menopause. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Nutrition)
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14 pages, 271 KiB  
Article
Consumer Choices in the Bread Market: The Importance of Fiber in Consumer Decisions
by Marta Sajdakowska, Jerzy Gębski, Marzena Jeżewska-Zychowicz and Maria Królak
Nutrients 2021, 13(1), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010132 - 31 Dec 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3536
Abstract
The aim of the current study was two-fold: (1) to identify consumer segments based on bread selection motives and (2) to examine differences between the identified segments in terms of perception of bread and bread with added fiber, and information on the food [...] Read more.
The aim of the current study was two-fold: (1) to identify consumer segments based on bread selection motives and (2) to examine differences between the identified segments in terms of perception of bread and bread with added fiber, and information on the food label. The data were collected using a CAPI (computer-assisted personal interview) survey on a sample of 1013 consumers. The k-means clustering method was used to identify four clusters of consumers, namely, Enthusiastic, Involved, Ultra-Involved, and Neutral. The Enthusiastic was the group that expressed the most positive opinions about the bread and about the addition of fiber to white bread. Moreover, they appreciated the most the information placed on the bread label. On the other hand, the Ultra-Involved and the Involved presented moderate opinions on these issues. In contrast, the consumers from the Neutral segment agreed the least with the opinion that white bread fortified with fiber is healthier and more expensive compared to white bread without added fiber. Consumers belonging to the Enthusiastic segment declared, to a greater extent than others, that cereal products with added fiber facilitate a healthy lifestyle and can reduce the adverse effects of an inadequate diet. The obtained results indicated that relatively positive opinions on the addition of fiber to white bread, including its benefits for health, are an opportunity to further develop the market of cereal products with added fiber. However, the information about bread on the label and its readability should meet the expectations of consumers who differ significantly in terms of their motives for choice. Both now and in the future, this aspect will be a challenge for food entrepreneurs and organizations that are engaged in the education and development of information aimed at consumers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Nutrition)
19 pages, 4633 KiB  
Article
Functional Deficits in Gut Microbiome of Young and Middle-Aged Adults with Prediabetes Apparent in Metabolizing Bioactive (Poly)phenols
by Xuhuiqun Zhang, Anqi Zhao, Amandeep K. Sandhu, Indika Edirisinghe and Britt M. Burton-Freeman
Nutrients 2020, 12(11), 3595; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12113595 - 23 Nov 2020
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 3962
Abstract
Background: Gut microbiota metabolize select dietary (poly)phenols to absorbable metabolites that exert biological effects important in metabolic health. Microbiota composition associated with health/disease status may affect its functional capacity to yield bioactive metabolites from dietary sources. Therefore, this study assessed gut microbiome composition [...] Read more.
Background: Gut microbiota metabolize select dietary (poly)phenols to absorbable metabolites that exert biological effects important in metabolic health. Microbiota composition associated with health/disease status may affect its functional capacity to yield bioactive metabolites from dietary sources. Therefore, this study assessed gut microbiome composition and its related functional capacity to metabolize fruit (poly)phenols in individuals with prediabetes and insulin resistance (PreDM-IR, n = 26) compared to a metabolically healthy Reference group (n = 10). Methods: Shotgun sequencing was used to characterize gut microbiome composition. Targeted quantitative metabolomic analyses of plasma and urine collected over 24 h were used to assess microbial-derived metabolites in response to a (poly)phenol-rich raspberry test drink. Results: PreDM-IR compared to the Reference group: (1) enriched Blautia obeum and Blautia wexlerae and depleted Bacteroides dorei and Coprococcus eutactus. Akkermansia muciniphila and Bacteroides spp. were depleted in the lean PreDM-IR subset; and (2) impaired microbial catabolism of select (poly)phenols resulting in lower 3,8-dihydroxy-urolithin (urolithin A), phenyl-γ-valerolactones and various phenolic acids concentrations (p < 0.05). Controlling for obesity revealed relationships with microbial species that may serve as metagenomic markers of diabetes development and therapeutic targets. Conclusions: Data provide insight from multi-omics approaches to advance knowledge at the diet–gut–disease nexus serving as a platform for devising dietary strategies to improve metabolic health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Nutrition)
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16 pages, 2311 KiB  
Article
Effect of Defatted Dabai Pulp Extract in Urine Metabolomics of Hypercholesterolemic Rats
by Noor Atiqah Aizan Abdul Kadir, Azrina Azlan, Faridah Abas and Intan Safinar Ismail
Nutrients 2020, 12(11), 3511; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12113511 - 14 Nov 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2782
Abstract
A source of functional food can be utilized from a source that might otherwise be considered waste. This study investigates the hypocholesterolemic effect of defatted dabai pulp (DDP) from supercritical carbon dioxide extraction and the metabolic alterations associated with the therapeutic effects of [...] Read more.
A source of functional food can be utilized from a source that might otherwise be considered waste. This study investigates the hypocholesterolemic effect of defatted dabai pulp (DDP) from supercritical carbon dioxide extraction and the metabolic alterations associated with the therapeutic effects of DDP using 1H NMR urinary metabolomic analysis. Male-specific pathogen-free Sprague–Dawley rats were fed with a high cholesterol diet for 30 days to induce hypercholesterolemia. Later, the rats were administered with a 2% DDP treatment diet for another 30 days. Supplementation with the 2% DDP treatment diet significantly reduced the level of total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL6) and tumour necrosis factor-α (α-TNF)) and significantly increased the level of antioxidant profile (total antioxidant status (TAS), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxide (GPX), and catalase (CAT)) compared with the positive control group (PG) group (p < 0.05). The presence of high dietary fibre (28.73 ± 1.82 g/100 g) and phenolic compounds (syringic acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid and gallic acid) are potential factors contributing to the beneficial effect. Assessment of 1H NMR urinary metabolomics revealed that supplementation of 2% of DDP can partially recover the dysfunction in the metabolism induced by hypercholesterolemia via choline metabolism. 1H-NMR-based metabolomic analysis of urine from hypercholesterolemic rats in this study uncovered the therapeutic effect of DDP to combat hypercholesterolemia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Nutrition)
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Review

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20 pages, 1301 KiB  
Review
Anti-Inflammatory and Immunomodulatory Properties of Fermented Plant Foods
by Roghayeh Shahbazi, Farzaneh Sharifzad, Rana Bagheri, Nawal Alsadi, Hamed Yasavoli-Sharahi and Chantal Matar
Nutrients 2021, 13(5), 1516; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13051516 - 30 Apr 2021
Cited by 71 | Viewed by 14210
Abstract
Fermented plant foods are gaining wide interest worldwide as healthy foods due to their unique sensory features and their health-promoting potentials, such as antiobesity, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, and anticarcinogenic activities. Many fermented foods are a rich source of nutrients, phytochemicals, bioactive compounds, and probiotic [...] Read more.
Fermented plant foods are gaining wide interest worldwide as healthy foods due to their unique sensory features and their health-promoting potentials, such as antiobesity, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, and anticarcinogenic activities. Many fermented foods are a rich source of nutrients, phytochemicals, bioactive compounds, and probiotic microbes. The excellent biological activities of these functional foods, such as anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory functions, are widely attributable to their high antioxidant content and lactic acid-producing bacteria (LAB). LAB contribute to the maintenance of a healthy gut microbiota composition and improvement of local and systemic immunity. Besides, antioxidant compounds are involved in several functional properties of fermented plant products by neutralizing free radicals, regulating antioxidant enzyme activities, reducing oxidative stress, ameliorating inflammatory responses, and enhancing immune system performance. Therefore, these products may protect against chronic inflammatory diseases, which are known as the leading cause of mortality worldwide. Given that a large body of evidence supports the role of fermented plant foods in health promotion and disease prevention, we aim to discuss the potential anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties of selected fermented plant foods, including berries, cabbage, and soybean products, and their effects on gut microbiota. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Nutrition)
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27 pages, 1058 KiB  
Review
Plant Proteins: Assessing Their Nutritional Quality and Effects on Health and Physical Function
by Steven R. Hertzler, Jacqueline C. Lieblein-Boff, Mary Weiler and Courtney Allgeier
Nutrients 2020, 12(12), 3704; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123704 - 30 Nov 2020
Cited by 193 | Viewed by 27013
Abstract
Consumer demand for plant protein-based products is high and expected to grow considerably in the next decade. Factors contributing to the rise in popularity of plant proteins include: (1) potential health benefits associated with increased intake of plant-based diets; (2) consumer concerns regarding [...] Read more.
Consumer demand for plant protein-based products is high and expected to grow considerably in the next decade. Factors contributing to the rise in popularity of plant proteins include: (1) potential health benefits associated with increased intake of plant-based diets; (2) consumer concerns regarding adverse health effects of consuming diets high in animal protein (e.g., increased saturated fat); (3) increased consumer recognition of the need to improve the environmental sustainability of food production; (4) ethical issues regarding the treatment of animals; and (5) general consumer view of protein as a “positive” nutrient (more is better). While there are health and physical function benefits of diets higher in plant-based protein, the nutritional quality of plant proteins may be inferior in some respects relative to animal proteins. This review highlights the nutritional quality of plant proteins and strategies for wisely using them to meet amino acid requirements. In addition, a summary of studies evaluating the potential benefits of plant proteins for both health and physical function is provided. Finally, potential safety issues associated with increased intake of plant proteins are addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Nutrition)
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30 pages, 2134 KiB  
Review
Viburnum opulus L.—A Review of Phytochemistry and Biological Effects
by Dominika Kajszczak, Małgorzata Zakłos-Szyda and Anna Podsędek
Nutrients 2020, 12(11), 3398; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12113398 - 5 Nov 2020
Cited by 44 | Viewed by 8296
Abstract
Viburnum opulus (VO) is a valuable decorative, medicinal, and food plant. This deciduous shrub is found in natural habitats in Europe, Russia, and some regions in North Africa and North Asia. The VO is traditionally used to treat aliments such as cough, colds, [...] Read more.
Viburnum opulus (VO) is a valuable decorative, medicinal, and food plant. This deciduous shrub is found in natural habitats in Europe, Russia, and some regions in North Africa and North Asia. The VO is traditionally used to treat aliments such as cough, colds, tuberculosis, rheumatic aches, ulcers, stomach, and kidney problems, among others. Many of the health-promoting properties of VO are associated with antioxidant activity, which has been demonstrated in both in vitro and in vivo studies. The results of in vitro studies show the antimicrobial potential of VO, especially against Gram-positive bacteria. In cell-based studies, VO demonstrated anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, anti-diabetic, osteogenic, cardio-protective, and cytoprotective properties. The applicability of VO in the treatment of urinary tract diseases, endometriosis, and some cancers has been confirmed in in vivo studies. The health benefits of VO result from the presence of bioactive components such as phenolic compounds, vitamin C, carotenoids, iridoids, and essential oils. The aim of this review is to present an overview of the botanical characteristics, chemical compositions, including bioactive compounds, and pro-health properties of VO different morphological parts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Nutrition)
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