Phytochemicals

Phytochemicals (phytonutrients) are plant-based micronutrients that create the color, flavor, and aroma of fruits and vegetables. They offer many health benefits, and may help ward off chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and strokTwo of my favorite phytonutrients :)e.

Richest sources of phytochemicals? Cake, cookies, and fried foods? um NO! 🙂

Think: fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and teas

Carotenoids may be the most “popular” of the phytochemical posse. Red, orange, and yellow fruits and veggies fall into this category. Carotenoids prevent certain cancers, heart disease, and age-related macular degeneration. They also fight wrinkles and enhance immunity. Score.

  • Alpha carotene: carrots
  • Beta Carotene: leafy green & yellow veggies
  • Beta-cryptoxanthin: citrus fruits, peaches, apricots
  • Lutein: leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and turnip greens
  • Lycopene: tomato products, pink grapefruit, watermelon, and guava
  • Zeaxanthin: green vegetables, eggs, and citrus fruits

Polyphenols have antioxidant properties and, according to some studies, may help prevent sun-related skin cancers and improve immune function. Polyphenols include flavonoids and nonflavonoids. Flavonoids enhance the effects of Vitamin C, and strengthen cell tissues.

  • Ellagic acid (nonflavonoid): strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries
  • Anthocyanins (flavonoid): fruits
  • Catechins (flavonoid): tea, wine
  • Flavanones (flavonoid): citrus fruits
  • Flavones (flavonoid): fruits and vegetables
  • Flavonols (flavonoid): fruits, vegetables, tea, and wine
  • Isoflavones (flavonoid): soybeans

How do I get my phytochemicals?

  • Get your 5 recommended servings of fruits & veggies daily
  • Eat a variety of colors
  • Choose whole grains
  • Drink tea, rather that soda
  • Flavor your food with spices, seasonings, and peppers rather than salt

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