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If you're like most people, you probably think of vitamins and minerals when you hear the word "nutrients." However, there are other types of nutrients called phytonutrients that offer a wide range of health benefits. Phytonutrients are found in plant foods, and they include antioxidants and other compounds that can help protect your body from disease. The next time you eat broccoli or raspberries - think phytonutrients!
What Are Some Types Of Phytonutrients?
There are more than 25,000 phytonutrients found in plant foods. There are many different types of phytonutrients, and they can be classified into several categories. Some of the most common phytonutrient groups include carotenoids, flavonoids, and ellagic acid, glucosinolates, phtoestrogens and resveratrol. Each of these groups contains a variety of compounds that offer unique health benefits. And they help keep plants healthy by protecting them from insects and the sun!
What Are The Health Benefits Of These Common Phytonutrients?
What Are Carotenoids?
There are over 600 types of carotenoids. Carotenoids are a group of phytonutrients that give plants their vibrant colors. They are found in fruits and vegetables such as apricots, carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach. Carotenoids have powerful antioxidant properties that are known for eye health and immune health. For example, lutein and zeaxanthin can help improve eye health and lycopene can reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
What Are Flavonoids?
Flavonoids are another group of phytonutrients that offer a range of health benefits. These nutrients are found in plant foods such as berries, tea, onions, and broccoli. Flavonoids are antioxidants that may help protect your body from disease. They can also improve heart health by reducing the risk of blood clots and improving circulation.
What Is Ellagic Acid?
Ellagic acid is a phytonutrient found in nuts, berries, and other plant foods. This nutrient has powerful antioxidant properties that may help decrease cancer cell growth, reduce inflammation, and guard brain function. Raspberries have the highest levels of ellagic acid and you may even find it in skin care products!
What Are Glucosinolates?
Glucosinolates are a group of phytonutrients found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. These nutrients have powerful antioxidant properties that can help regulate inflammation, metabolic functions, and even conditions of stress. They also contain compounds called isothiocyanates that may help reduce the risk of cancer. So eat your Bok Choy!
What Are Phtoestrogens?
Phtoestrogens are a group of phytonutrients found in plant foods such as soybeans and flaxseed. These nutrients have estrogen-like effects in the body and can offer some health benefits such as reducing the risk of breast cancer and heart disease. However, it is important to note that large amounts of phtoestrogens may play havoc with hormone function.
What Is Resveratrol?
Think wine and grapes! Resveratrol is a phytonutrient found in red wine, grapes, and other plant foods. This nutrient has powerful antioxidant properties that may help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease and may be associated with increased cerebral blood flow. And for you chocolate lovers, it can even be found in dark chocolate!
Phytonutrients are important for overall health!
The next time you fill up your plate, think color! Bright reds, greens, yellows - go for the brightest and boldest colors of fruits and vegetables because you will be filling your body with phytonutrients! Adding color to your meal might just mean you have a better chance at a longer and healthier life!