Have you heard about PHYTONUTRIENTS?
I bet some of you probably did at some point, and some of you might have never heard. We usually tend to talk (and hear) about micro and macronutrients. However, phytonutrients are as important as the other nutrients are. Food and nutrition scientists regard phytonutrients as one the the three functional components of food, with nutrients and taste components. The function of phytonutrients is to prevent disease at the molecular level.
So, what are they? They are substances produced by plants naturally to protect themselves from viruses, bacteria, and fungi, as well as insects, drought, and even the sun. Also provide color, aroma, texture, and flavor. There are more than 25,000 phytonutrients, only a few hundred have yet been studied. They promote health by protecting us from cancers, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cataracts, others. They are also refer to as the “natural pesticides” within a plant.
You can find them in vegetables and fruits, and most of them, if not all, are bitter, acrid, or astringent, which is why we all tend (naturally) to reject most of the foods that are full of phytonutrients. They are phenols, polyphenols, flavonoids, isoflavones, terpenes, and glucosinolates. Phytonutrients and their metabolites elicit a variety of biological activities, acting as antioxidants, phytoestrogens, or enzyme inducers.
Where do we find them? In grapefruit, chocolate, wine, tea, beer, soy products, orange, lemon, apples, onions, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, mustards greens, just to name a few…;)
Enjoy your fruits and veggies!