Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Phytochemical Nutrients. Nature's Health Warriors
Phytochemicals (Phytonutrients) are nature’s health warriors. The list includes compounds such as lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, selenium, diindolylmethane, allium compounds, anthrocyanins, carotenoids, falconoid, indoles, isoflavones limonene phenols, saponins, sterols, coumarins. Phytonutrients are powerful and beneficial types of naturally occurring bioactive compounds contained in plants. They function to provide plants with protection and these protective mechanisms are transferred to humans when we consume plants. These substances also are responsible for giving fruits and vegetables the wide array of colors, smells, and flavors. Phytonutrients perform a multitude of functions that we are continuing to discover. A profound body of evidence from research has shown that these compounds including polyphenols help to reduce the incidence of cancer, reduce cholesterol, improve cardiovascular health, prevent and eliminate arthritis, prevent osteoporosis, fight tumors, boost immune system, combat viruses etc. They are also beneficial in reducing other inflammatory conditions linked to diseases such as Alzheimer’s. They protect cells from free radical damage, immobilize carcinogens, slow the aging process, maintain or improve eye function and may repair damaged DNA(DNA is the fundamental building block of our cells). A more common one would be Salycin. This is a substance extracted from the Willow tree and used for centuries as a pain reliever, fever reducer, and anti-inflammitory. A synthetic derivative of Salycin is known as ASPIRIN (acetylsalicylic acid). The number one drug for cancer in the world (TAXOL) is a phytochemical from the Pacific Yew Tree. The moral of the story here, eat your raw fruits & vegetables and use fresh and dried herbs not only are they Superfoods, they are nature's health warriors. If your interested in browsing around you can search for additional information at the U.S. Dept. Of Agriculture Phytochemical Database . This is a database of phytochemical nutrients. Do you you eat plenty of raw fruits, vegetables and herbs?