Nature's Choice / Blog / Healthy Living / Phytonutrient Sources

Phytonutrient Sources

29 August 2008

In recent years, laboratory researchers have discovered the existence of phytochemicals, otherwise known as phytonutrients. These are substances which protect the human body against a variety of diseases, including cancer. Twenty phytonutrients are currently known to exist (see Table below); and they are only found in fruits and vegetables. Here are the names of these substances, plus the foods you would need to eat in order to absorb them into your body.Phytochemicals not only provide colour, texture, and flavour to plant foods; they also protect plants against microorganisms and insects. When eaten, these substances protect us against disease! A high intake of fruit and vegetables protects the human body against various cancers, coronary heart disease, and stroke. A Harvard study found that the risk of a stroke, alone, was reduced by 31%. A Finnish study found that phytochemicals reduce the likelihood of death by 35%.
For example, there are over 600 types of carotenoids in plants. Rich in antioxidants, they reduce or eliminate cancers in research animals, stimulate the immune system, and protect against age-related macular degeneration. Another example is the glucarates (found in the white portion under the peel of citrus) which protect against breast cancer. (Source: Natural Remedies Encyclopedia)

Phytonutrient Source
Allyl sulfides Garlic, onions, leeks, chives
Carotenoids Yellow/Orange vegetables and fruits; green, leafy vegetables; red fruits
Coumarins  Celery, parsnips, figs, parsley
Curcumins  Turmeric, ginger
Dithiolthiones Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, collards)
Ellagic acid Grapes, strawberries, raspberries, nuts
Flavonoids Most fruits and vegetables
Indoles / isothiocyanates Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, radish
Isoflavones Soybeans, tofu
Glucarates Citrus fruits, grains, tomatoes, bell peppers
Lignans Flaxseed, flaxseed oil, soybeans
Liminoids  Citrus fruits
Phthalides/Polyacetylenes Celery, caraway, cumin, dill, fennel, parsley, carrots, coriander
Phenolic acids Berries, grapes, whole grains, nuts
Phytates Grains, legumes
Phytosterols Seeds, legumes
Protease inhibitors Grains, seeds, nuts, legumes
Saponins Beans, herbs
Terpenes Cherries, citrus fruit, herbs
Tocotrienols Seeds, nuts


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