What Are Phytonutrients And Why They Important For Your Health?

So what are phytonutrients and why are they so important? 

Phytonutrient means plant nutrient, and there are hundreds of them which contain antioxidants and powerful phytochemicals which is essential for combating cells that put your body in dangour.

Most likely, you already consume these kinds of nutrients without even knowing it, as they exist in many plant foods.

We will be diving deep into the benefits of phytonutrients, and why they are important for your health. 

What Are Phytonutrients And What Do They Do?

Phytonutrients or phytochemicals are natural compounds that are found in plants, and plant-based foods. 

These powerful chemicals contain antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory properties which help fight free radicals and help prevent many life-threatening diseases.

Colors of plants such as dark rich green’s in spinach, reds in cherries, orange in carrots and purple in eggplant, contain different kinds of nutrients which serve our bodies in multiple ways.

Below is a guideline of the different colors you will see in plant-based foods, and their benefits:

Green Colours: 

Red Colours:

Orange Colours:

Purple Colours:

White Colours:

Support cellular health.

Support heart Health

Support eye Health

Support brain Health

Support bone Health

Green Colours: 

Support cellular health.

Red Colours:

Support heart Health

Orange Colours:

Support eye Health

Purple Colours:

Support brain Health

White Colours:

Support bone Health

How Many Types Of Phytonutrients Are There?

There are over 25,0000 phytonutrients found in plant foods, and they can be all narrowed down to 5 different types.

1.Carotenoids

Carotenoids are mostly found in foods that are orange and yellow in color.

There are over 600 carotenoids, which act as antioxidants. They are essential for fighting off free radicals and harmful bacteria in our body.

These antioxidants can be converted to vitamin A, which supports healthy immunity, as well as healthy eye’s.

2.Ellagic Acid

Ellagic acid is commonly found in foods that are red in color, such as strawberries, tomatoes, pomegranates, and cherries.

Ellagic acid helps to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, which can be beneficial when preventing heart disease and preventing conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, ellagic acid contains anti-inflammatory properties, as well as antioxidants which help fight off viruses, as well as other forms of harmful bacteria.

3.Glucosinolates

Can be found in green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts.

Glucosinolates help prevent cellular damage and contain many cancer-fighting agents, and help regulate inflammation.

4.Flavonoids

These types of phytochemicals also help fight free radicals.

They contain over 5000 different nutrients which help fight off cells that slow down healing and recovery.

Flavonoids are a more diverse classification of phytonutrients but can be found in white foods such as apples, onions, garlic, and ginger.

Studies show that these phytochemicals help support healthy bone cells and therapeutic treatment in osteoporosis.

5.Anthocyanins

Chemicals called anthocyanin are found in purple and blue colored foods such as blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, and raisins.

They help support brain health, including memory function and healthy blood pressure.

Generally speaking, the darker the color the higher level of phytochemical concentration is present.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Phytonutrients?

Colorful fruits and vegetables are packed with phytonutrients, which can help strengthen your organs and help your body fight different diseases.

Each type of phytonutrient targets and supports different aspects of your well being, depending on what fruits and vegetables you eat.

Below are some key benefits of how phytochemicals can help your body:

Can Lower Bad Cholesterol

Cardiovascular problems can lead to life-threatening conditions such as a stroke and heart attack.

There are two kinds of cholesterol, LDL (Bad Cholesterol), and HDL (Good Cholesterol). 

Although we need both LDL and HDL, phytochemicals help stabilize a ratio of more good cholesterol and less of the bad ones which lead can lead to a reduction in blood flow to the legs called peripheral artery disease.

Helps Strengthen Immune System

Taking care of your immune system will allow your body to fight viruses and free radicals that are harmful to your health.

Phytonutrients found in plants are essential for sustaining healthy immunity, and acts as ammunition to our internal daily battle of fighting off parasites, and harmful bacteria.

Flavonoids are responsible for helping strengthen the immune system. These types of phytonutrients can be found in lemons, oranges, apples, and onions.

Can Help Slow Down Aging

We all want healthy looking beautiful skin, and most often we look for the perfect product while avoiding the one true solution that will help us most, our diet.

Antioxidants found in rich colorful foods help reduce wrinkles and dry skin, keeping it hydrated while maintaining its healthy and natural look.

Additionally, phytochemical’s support proper brain function and helps to lower stress levels, which also affects the look of our skin.

Helps Regulate Hormone Levels

Foods that are high in nutrients can provide you with natural energy that is sustainable throughout the day.

Relying on sugar and temporary fixes for energy can drive moods up and down like a rollercoaster. This can affect both your hormone levels, as well as your mood.

Phytonutrients supply your body with long-lasting energy, as well as preventing illness, which also has an impact on your hormone levels.

Phytoestrogens are compounds that act like estrogen in the body which may help women with hot flashes and even symptoms associated with menopause.

Protects From Inflammation

Inflammation is our bodies way of responding to stress.

It is usually the most common link between conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and other conditions that have a negative impact on our body.

Ellagic Acid found in grapes, berries, and citrus fruits helps reduce inflammation on our body, helping to prevent health complications later in life.

Improves Vision

There are several leading causes of vision loss today.

These include conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts, which can lead to vision impairment, including blindness.

Risks involving vision loss can be avoided by providing our eyes with nutrients, and by consuming foods which contain sufficient amounts of phytochemicals.

Carotenoids found in carrots, oranges, and pumpkins support healthy eyes because they contain vitamin A. They also act as antioxidants, which can fight off dangerous exposure to our eyes.

Can Phytonutrients Help Prevent Cancer?

Because phytonutrients contain multiple antioxidant and inti-flammatory properties, they are capable of slowing down cancer cells.

According to research, dietary phytochemicals inhibit cancer initiation and help suppress the progression of various cancer cells, including tumors.

Phytochemicals help stimulate our immune system. They also reduce the chances of life-threatening infections and diseases from forming, which are also linked to cancer.

Are Phytonutrients The Same As Antioxidants?

Both antioxidants and phytonutrients can be easily confused because they are equally responsible for fighting off cells that are harmful to our body.

Antioxidants are substances that prevent cell damage from highly reactive chemicals called “free radicles”. They can be found within both plants and animals.

Phytochemicals are only found in plant-based foods and are naturally occurring compounds which contain antioxidant capabilities.

Additionally, phytochemicals found in plants, also have the ability to produce enzymes that limit the damage in DNA by fighting inflammation and cancer-related cells.

Both antioxidants and phytochemicals play important roles in helping us stabilize our overall health, and they work together to do get the job done.

Which Foods Contain Phytonutrients?

Below is a guide to which foods can benefit specific areas of your health.

For Eye Health

Carotenoids

  • Carrots
  • Oranges
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Mangos
  • Pineapples
  • Grapefruit
  • Sweet Corn
  • Yellow Winter Squash
  • Lemon
  • Peaches
  • Yellow Figs
  • Yellow Beets
  • Cantaloupe

For Bone Health

Flavonoids

  • Bananas
  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Dates

For Heart Health

Ellagic Acid

  • Blood Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Cranberries
  • Papaya
  • Rasberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Red Chilli Peppers
  • Red Pepper
  • Watermelon
  • Red Onion
  • Red Apples
  • Radishes

For Brain Health

Anthocyanins

  • Prunes
  • Eggplant
  • Blackberries
  • Grapes
  • Purple Cabbage
  • Raisins
  • Black Currants
  • Dried Plumbs
  • Purple Asparagus
  • Elderberries

For Cellular Health

Glucosinolates

  • Green Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Broccoli
  • Green Beans
  • Green Pears
  • Kiwi
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Zucchini
  • Green Peppers
  • Peas
  • Brussel Sprouts

How Else Can I Find Phytonutrients?

Consuming the entire spectrum isn’t always easy, especially when we are on the move or have a limited grocery budget.

Natural Supplementation is a great way to get all your phytonutrients into you if there are any gaps in your diet.

Picking out a multivitamin that covers all 5 spectrums can help fill the empty gaps, or can be used to boost your phytochemical consumption.

Make sure you pick a product that is credible, and always council with a doctor or nutritionist if you are ever unsure of taking a particular product or supplement.

Take Away

As we covered together,  it is clearly evident that phytonutrients are essential to maintaining overall health.

Its benefits help your body fight off dangerous cells such as cancer, as well as preventing the risk of disease by boosting your immune system.

Additional benefits can provide us with healthy skin while reducing stress thanks to its brain supporting properties.

Making sure you implement healthy dietary choices while including foods containing phytochemicals will help you live longer while feeling and looking your best!