Phytonutrients, or phytochemicals, are natural compounds of all plant foods.
They are responsible for giving plant foods their distinct colors, tastes, and smells. They also provide plants with protection from pests and environmental stressors.
In the human body, phytonutrients play a role in many processes, including (but not limited to) toxin elimination, hormone metabolism, and strengthening the immune system. While the full impact of phytonutrients is not yet understood, it’s safe to say that phytonutrients and the foods that contain them are an important part of a healthy diet.
More than 25,000 phytonutrients are found in plant foods. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of phytonutrients. So are whole grains, legumes, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, and teas. In order to get the full benefit of phytonutrients, it’s important to incorporate these foods into your diet in their whole form, or as close to their whole form as possible.
Specific phytonutrients and their health benefits are associated with specific colors of foods, including red, orange, yellow, green, blue/purple/black, and white/tan/brown.To promote good health, it is important to eat a variety of phytonutrient- rich fruits and vegetables each day.
Smaller amounts of many phytochemicals may have greater beneficial effects than larger amounts of fewer phytochemicals (1)
Be proud of every step you take toward reaching that goal.
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(1) Dietary botanical diversity affects the reduction of oxidative biomarkers in women due to high vegetable and fruit intake. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16857842)
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