Phytochemicals (also known as phytonutrients) are compounds in plant foods that provide a wide range of health benefits.
The media has nicknamed many of these foods as “superfoods” because of their health attributes. However, be careful because this term may be overused for marketing.
In the video below, Amanda Haney talks about the many health benefits of phytochemicals.
Continue reading for more information.
Types of phytochemicals
Studies show that a diet rich in phytochemicals can reduce plaque buildup in arteries and reduce cardiovascular disease risk. Studies observing the impact of polyphenols have shown a decrease in cancer cell growth. Strawberries and blueberries are rich in polyphenols.
Examples of phytonutrients
Phytochemicals are found in a variety of plant foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Common food sources include blueberries, chili peppers, garlic, onions, citrus fruits, tomatoes, legumes, and eggplants.
Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is one step towards boosting your diet’s phytonutrient content.
Lastly, you may see supplements in stores advertising that they contain phytochemicals. It’s important to note that you get the most significant health benefits from eating whole foods rich in phytonutrients. Even more exciting, research is still ongoing to understand precisely how these foods impact and benefit our health.
Meet with your registered dietitian to learn more about how to increase phytonutrients in your diet!
- Kris-Etherton, Penny M et al. “Bioactive Compounds In Foods: Their Role In The Prevention Of Cardiovascular Disease And Cancer”
- The American Journal of Medicine 113.9 (2002): 71-88. DOI 10.1016/s0002-9343(01)00995-0