Phytonutrients are what give many vegetables and berries their health-boosting power. Certain healthy foods contain a very high concentration of phytonutrients and can help you feel healthier and better. Phytonutrients can be complicated to understand but simply they are helpful compounds found in plant foods. I will share what I’ve been able to learn about phytonutrients and the health benefits of phytonutrients.
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What are Phytonutrients?
Phytonutrients are not the same as regular vitamins and minerals. They can be thought of as similar to vitamins, but they can also be thought of as plant medicines. Phytonutrients give many plants the power to prevent and treat diseases. Phytonutrients are not only found in vegetables. Many spices contain phytonutrients and some flowers do as well. Many plant medicines get their medicinal power from these compounds. Phytonutrients give many foods their color and taste. The plants themselves use phytonutrients to ward off diseases. A plant can produce phytonutrients to defend itself against parasites, bacteria, or viruses. Phytonutrients also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help support a healthy human body.
Types of Phytonutrients
There are many different types of phytonutrients. They are split into different groups, such as Carotenoids, Isothiocyanates, Glucosinolates and Flavonoids. There are many health benefits of phytonutrients, such as to boost your immune system, balance your hormones, protect your brain health and lower your blood pressure.
What are the Health Benefits of Phytonutrients?
Phytonutrients work in many different ways and different phytonutrients have different health benefits. While we only know a small amount about them so far, it seems likely that phytonutrients play a significant role in your health. Phytonutrients can probably even repair DNA, prevent some cancers, or help abnormal cells die and be replaced by healthy ones.
1. Antioxidant Effects – You can improve your health right away by getting more antioxidants in your diet. Antioxidants block molecules known as free radicals, which damage your cells. Many phytonutrients have an antioxidant effect. You can reduce your exposure to free radicals by avoiding certain toxins in the environment. However, there is no way to fully avoid free radicals, as necessary processes in your body produce them. Therefore, you need to eat foods that contain antioxidants.
2. Boost Your Immune System – Some phytonutrients slow the growth rate of bad bacteria in your body. They can also either stimulate a weak immune system or calm an overactive immune system down. An overactive immune system can be just as bad as an underactive one because it can lead to autoimmune diseases.
3. Neuroprotective Effects – Recent research suggests that certain phytonutrients may prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. These diseases are neurodegenerative or caused by the death of brain cells. Early research suggests that phytonutrients such as berberine, resveratrol, curcumin, quercetin, limonoids, and epigallocatechin-3-galate all have neuroprotective properties. Further research is necessary to know how much these substances affect the progression of these diseases.
4. Possible Cancer Prevention – Some significant research from 2018 suggests that phytochemicals can prevent some cancers. The chemicals can work against skin cancer and are a safe, cost-effective treatment. Skin cancer has many different causes, and different phytochemicals work against each cause.
5. May Heal DNA Damage – Smoking and sun exposure damage your DNA. In the long run, DNA damage can lead to serious diseases, including cancer. There is no way to fully avoid DNA damage but you can avoid it. Don’t smoke, drink clean filtered water, avoid processed food products and anything that contain hazardous chemicals. Phytochemicals can limit DNA damage and even help your body repair it. For exampe, If you quit smoking most but not all of the DNA damage might go away.
What Foods Contain Phytonutrients?
Eating a variety of different vegetables is sometimes enough to get a lot of phytonutrients in your diet. Since it often is not enough you might also consume superfoods that are packed with phytonutrients.
Green vegetables are one of the most common sources such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and lettuce.
Red, yellow, and orange vegetables such as squash, tomatoes, carrots, mangos, melons, and berries also contain phytonutrients. In addition, garlic, chives, onions, and leeks all contain phytonutrients.
Is a Diet rich in Phytonutrients Good for the Body?
Yes, phytonutrients have plenty of health benefits that we know about and likely many more that we do not. Phytonutrients can lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation. Phytonutrients can improve your blood flow, improve your vision and protect your cells from damage.
Are Phytonutrients Good for the Skin?
Yes, phytonutrients can help make your skin look younger and bette when combined with a healthy lifestyle. You do not have to use a topical cream containing phytonutrients to get these benefits. Merely eating foods containing phytonutrients will make your skin look better. Try using Plant Collagen from YourSuper to improve skin health.
As you can see, there are many health benefits of Phytonutrients. I hope you have learned enough to get a good idea how they can help improve your health. Please leave a comment below with any questions or experience.
The information contained in this website is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor.