Phytonutrients are natural chemicals considered to be bioactive food components. Although these phytonutrients are not essential for keeping you alive, they can prevent many diseases. There are more than 25000 phytonutrients in plant food sources.
Let’s look at the 6 most vital phytonutrients and their health benefits.
- Carotenoids: Carotenoids act as antioxidants in the human body. They fight against the harmful free radicals that cause damage to the whole body. There are more than 600 carotenoids present in fruits and vegetables that give them orange, yellow, and red colors. The three main types of Carotenoids that have several health benefits are Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. The human body is capable of turning these phytonutrients into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is responsible for the proper functioning of the immune system and good eyesight. Foods like pumpkins and carrots are good sources of alpha and beta carotene. Lycopene is another carotenoid that gives the pink and red color to tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit. Lycopene is often linked to reducing the risk of prostate cancer. The third type of carotenoids is Lutein and Zeaxanthin which are present in green food sources such as Spinach, Kale, and Collard. These phytonutrients are highly effective against eye problems, especially cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
- Flavonoids: Most of the Phytonutrients are Flavonoids found in a variety of plant-based foods. The three most important types of flavonoids include Catechins, Hesperidin, and Flavonols. Green tea is a good source of Catechin. Drinking this tea might help to prevent certain types of cancer. Hesperidin is found in citrus fruits and acts as an antioxidant. It fights inflammation in the body thereby preventing certain types of chronic diseases. Quercetin is one well-studied form of flavanol found in Apples, Berries, Kale, and Onions. Flavonol reduces the risks of asthma, certain cancers, and coronary heart disease.
- Ellagic Acids: Ellagic acid is found in numerous plant foods such as berries, strawberries, raspberries, and pomegranates. Ellagic acids may fight against many types of cancer by slowing the growth of cancerous cells. It also enables the liver to neutralize cancer-causing chemicals in the system. Still, more research is needed to find the effects of ellagic acid in humans.
- Resveratrol: Resveratrol is anti-inflammatory and also acts as an antioxidant. Grapes, purple grape juice, and red wine are good sources of this phytonutrient. Some studies suggested that resveratrol might be effective in reducing the risk of heart diseases and certain types of cancers. Many animal studies showed that these phytonutrients can cause life expansion. Still more human studies are needed to find out more about the health effects of resveratrol.
- Glucosinolates: Glucosinolates are found in vegetable food sources such as Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Kale, and Broccoli. These phytonutrients give the vegetables their strong smell and flavor. When these vegetables are cooked and digested while eating, glucosinolates turn into other chemicals. These chemicals help the body to check and hold the development and growth of cancer cells in the body.
- Phytoestrogens: Phytoestrogens are structured to exert estrogen-like effects in the body. They can even block the effects of naturally generated estrogen in the body. Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen that is found in soy foods. Evidence suggests that soy foods might lower the risk of endometrial cancer and bone loss in women.
Lignans is another phytonutrient that the body converts into chemicals with some estrogen effects. Flaxseeds and sesame seeds are good sources of lignans. Although not much evidence is found indicating the role of lignans in fighting against endometrial cancer or osteoporosis.
It is often difficult to gain all the essential nutrients from diet alone. So you should begin taking them in the form of health supplements or switch to organic foods. To get maximum benefits from the best quality organic food shop for GULA food today.