They are neither vitamins nor minerals but occur naturally on plant foods.
They are not essential; the absence of them in the diet will not result in death. However, they are important to our body especially at a time when our exposure to free radicals producer has never been greater.
Many have been discovered these past few years. Tremendous studies are being done and scientific papers about them are proliferating. We have new information about them every day and it is hard to stay updated. Several hundred types of phytochemicals have already been found.
They have been proven to have powerful antioxidants.
They protect against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, premature aging for the main activity. They also reduce the inflammatory response and enhance the immune system.
Here is the list of the most common phytochemicals
Phenolic compounds or Polyphenol
(Anthocyanins, anthocynidins, isoflavonoids, flavonols, flavones...)
Sources: vegetables, fruits, green tea, soybeans, berries, cherries...
(ferulic acid, caffeic acid, coumaric acid, ellagic acid and gallic acid)
Sources: whole grains, berries, cherries, grapes, citrus...
Sources: lentils, beans, tea, grape, wine...
(beta-carotene, alpha carotene, cryptoxanthin, zeaxantin, licopene, lutein...).
They give the color orange: carrots, peaches, mangos, but can also be found in leafy greens.
(limonin, nomilin, d limonine) found in citrus fruits
Sulfur containing chemical
Allicin in garlic
Sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables
Realized by Laurence LIVERNAIS-SAETTEL, dietitian
© Copyright L. Livernais-Saettel 2002
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