Food intake biomarkers for green leafy vegetables, bulb vegetables, and stem vegetables: A review

Elske M. Brouwer-Brolsma*, Beate Brandl, Marion E.C. Buso, Thomas Skurk, Claudine Manach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Numerous studies acknowledged the importance of an adequate vegetable consumption for human health. However, current methods to estimate vegetable intake are often prone to measurement errors due to self-reporting and/or insufficient detail. More objective intake biomarkers for vegetables, using biological specimens, are preferred. The only concentration biomarkers currently available are blood carotenoids and vitamin C, covering total fruit and vegetable intake. Identification of biomarkers for specific vegetables is needed for a better understanding of their relative importance for human health. Within the FoodBAll Project under the Joint Programming Initiative "A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life", an ambitious action was undertaken to identify candidate intake biomarkers for all major food groups consumed in Europe by systematically reviewing the existent literature. This study describes the review on candidate biomarkers of food intake (BFIs) for leafy, bulb, and stem vegetables, which was conducted within PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science for studies published through March 2019. Results: In total, 65 full-text articles were assessed for eligibility for leafy vegetables, and 6 full-text articles were screened for bulb and stem vegetables. Putative BFIs were identified for spinach, lettuce, endive, asparagus, artichoke, and celery, but not for rocket salad. However, after critical evaluation through a validation scheme developed by the FoodBAll consortium, none of the putative biomarkers appeared to be a promising BFI. The food chemistry data indicate that some candidate BFIs may be revealed by further studies. Conclusion: Future randomized controlled feeding studies combined with observational studies, applying a non-targeted metabolomics approach, are needed in order to identify valuable BFIs for the intake of leafy, bulb, and stem vegetables.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalGenes and Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2020


  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Celery
  • Endive
  • Garden rocket
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach


Dive into the research topics of 'Food intake biomarkers for green leafy vegetables, bulb vegetables, and stem vegetables: A review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this