Most everyone hears about how important fruits and vegetables are for their high nutrient content, water, and fiber content. What about their phytochemical content? Phytochemicals literally are “plant chemicals” (“phyto” means plant). Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of these. Other sources of these incredible chemicals include: whole grains, herbs, and spices. The scientific evidence available relating to the benefits phytochemicals have on our body is impressive.
Here are just a few phytochemicals to get you thinking about including more whole foods and less processed foods in your diet:
|Food:||Phytochemical this food contains:||Health Benefits of this phytochemical:|
|Herbs & Spices (such as cloves, turmeric, ginger, and garlic)||Clove= EugenolTurmeric= CurcuminGinger= 6-gingerolGarlic= Diallyl sulfide, S-allyl cystine, and Allicin||Apoptosis (cancer cell death, thus cancer prevention), Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, Helps your liver detoxify, Increases immunity|
|Citrus fruits||Limonene||Antioxidant, Increases immunity, Prevents tumors from taking over (cancer prevention)|
|Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower)||Indole-3-Carbinol||Helps your liver detoxify, Protects your DNA, Prevents tumors from forming (cancer prevention)|
|Tomatoes||Lycopene||Inhibits tumor formation (cancer prevention)|
|Carrots, peppers, green vegetables||Carotenoids||Antioxidants, Increase immunity|
|Green tea||Catechins||Antioxidants, Interfere with tumor signaling thus inhibiting tumor formation (cancer prevention), Prevent genetic damage|
Talia Wood is a Registered Dietitian. As a consultant, she has been able to work with very diverse populations. Currently, she consults with hospitals, nursing homes, an Indian Health Service clinic, and agencies who provide support for individuals with disabilities and their families. Nutrition is such an important and often overlooked piece of the “quality of life” puzzle. Talia very much enjoys seeing people thrive through nutrition.