Phytochemicals: Uncover the Super Food Craze and Boost Your Health

Crushed red chili peppers contain phytochemicals.

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

Types of phytochemicals you may recognize are carotenoids, flavonoids, polyphenols, and resveratrol. There are over 15 phytochemicals currently being studied, so scientists may discover a lot more!

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Strawberries and blueberries contain the phytonutrient polyphenol

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.

Crushed red chili peppers contain phytochemicals and are great for your health!

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.

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One example of an excellent phytochemcial includes garlic

Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is one step towards boosting your diet’s phytonutrient content.

Another examples of a wonderful phytochemcial includes onions

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!


References:

  • 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
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Hi, my name is Amanda Haney. I am a registered dietitian, board-certified nutrition support clinician, Cal State Long Beach alumnae, and former pediatric clinical dietitian. Currently, I am working as a project manager at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. As a clinical dietitian or in my current role, my passion is working in a diverse setting with a variety of teams in order to improve patient outcomes and achieve better health for the families in my community. I became a dietitian because I love food and I love medicine. There is so much misinformation about nutrition in the media, so I enjoy creating educational content that makes nutrition simple and to make your health goals achievable. In my free time, I love soaking up the beauty at the beach, riding my bike, staying active, cooking, and, most of all, spending time with my family and friends!

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