The Benefits of Phytochemicals

What are Phytochemicals?

Phytochemicals are chemicals produced in fruits and plants. Some of these chemicals have some surprising nutritional benefits for health, hormones, disease, and anti-aging. The phytochemicals that are shown to have nutritional value are considered phytonutrients. A few phytonutrients you may be familiar with are Resveratrol found in grapes, lyopene found in tomatos, and Naringenin found in grapefruit.

While many fruits and plants contain small amounts of phytonutrients that are shown to have potential long term health benefits higher doses and any possible immediate effects are not as well known. Research has only recently started to isolate and identify more phytochcemicals and the effects of these powerful molecule appear very promising.

Phytochemicals are Categorized by chemical type

5 Common Phytochemical Categories: Terpenes, Organosulfides, Saponins, Carotenoids, Polyphenols

Terpenes

Examples

  • Limonene

  • Carnosol

  • Pinene

  • Myrcene

  • Menthol

Potential Benefits

  • Antiseptic

  • Antibacterial

  • Antioxidant

  • Anti-Inflammatory

Sources

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  • Citrus Fruit (peel)

  • Cherries

  • Hops

  • Mint

  • Rosemary

  • Bay Leaf

  • Oregano

  • Sage


Organosulfides

Examples

  • Allicin

  • Sulforaphane

  • Glutathione

  • Isothiocyanate

Potential Benefits

  • Antioxidant

  • Anticarcinogenic

  • Antimicrobial

  • Support protein synthesis and enzyme reactions

Sources

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  • Leafy Green Vegetables

  • Broccoli Sprouts

  • Garlic

  • Onion

  • Bok Choy

  • Horseradish


Saponins

Examples

  • Beta Sitosterol

  • Diosgenin

  • Ginsenosides

Potential Benefits

  • Lower Cholesterol

  • Immune Support

  • Antimicrobial

  • Antifungal

  • Hormone Support

Sources

Soy Milk and Soy Beans

Soy Milk and Soy Beans

  • Yams

  • Quinoa

  • Fenugreek

  • Ginseng

  • Soybeans

  • Peas


Carotenoids

Examples

  • Alpha and Beta Carotenes

  • Beta Cryptoxanthin

  • Lycopene

  • Lutein

  • Zeaxanthin

Potential Benefits

  • Slow or inhibit cancer cell growth

  • Support immune system

  • Antioxidant

  • Eye Health

Sources

  • Colorful fruits and vegetables (orange, yellow, green, & red)


Polyphenols

Examples

  • Phenolic acids

  • Stilbenes (resveratrol)

  • Lignans

  • Flavonoids

    • Catechins

    • Anthocyanins

    • Quercetin

    • Genistein

    • Daidzein

    • Glycitein

  • Tannins

Potential Benefits

  • Reduce Inflammation

  • Slow growth of tumors

  • Immune support

  • Reduce asthma risk

  • Support heart health and disease prevention

  • Support female hormones (phytoestrogenes)

Sources

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  • Apples

  • Citrus fruits

  • Berries

  • Grapes

  • Beets

  • Onions

  • Walnuts

  • Whole grains

  • Soy

  • Green Beans

  • Chickpeas

  • Coffee

  • Tea