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Eating the Rainbow: What Are Phytochemicals and Why Do We Need Them

What Are Phytochemicals and Why Do We Need Them
What are Phytochemicals 

Phytochemicals are what provide the aroma, flavor, and color to vegetables and fruits. These chemicals are biologically active and they help the plants fight off infection, disease, and invasion. But not only can these chemicals help plants, they can also help people who consume these plants as well.

So what are phytochemicals? And why do people need to consume them? Continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know!

What Are Phytochemicals?

Phytochemicals are sometimes also referred to as phytonutrients. They are plant-based chemicals and compounds that are beneficial for both plants and people. While there may be thousands of phytochemicals in the world, only a small number of them have been isolated and tested by scientists.

These chemicals compose different minerals, vitamins, and macronutrients such as fats, carbs, and proteins. You can find them not just in fruits and vegetables but also edible flowers and spices. Foods that contain phytochemicals tend to be very colorful but white foods like garlic and onions also have a lot of phytochemicals.

Benefits of Phytochemicals

There are some phytochemicals that act as antioxidants in the body. Carcinogens in the body can lead to free radicals intoxicating the body. They can damage DNA and cause cancer.

Antioxidants are able to get rid of these free radicals and prevent the diseases they can cause.  

Many phytochemicals also have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. While your body might naturally create inflammation as a response to damage, chronic inflammation can lead to a variety of medical problems. 

Some phytochemicals can even strengthen your immune system. There are several chemicals in this group that act as anti-microbial agents. They can reduce the chances that viruses and dangerous bacteria will divide and grow in your body. 

Phytochemicals can also help you to modulate your immune system. They can maintain a balance in your system so that it’s not underactive or overactive.  

There are other phytochemicals that can help people with neurological disorders. This includes people who are suffering from Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Adding Phytochemicals to Your Diet

While many of these phytochemicals are healthy on their own, they’re even more effective when combined. Plants that are similar in color tend to have similar phytochemicals. For example, many orange foods tend to have the carotenoid group.

By eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, you can increase the variety of phytochemicals that you consume and boost your health too. 

The Importance of Knowing What Are Phytochemicals

As we can see, phytochemicals play an important part in the health of not only plants but also people. By knowing what are phytochemicals and eating a varied diet with plenty of plant foods, you’ll be able to increase the amount and variety of phytochemicals that you consume. This can help you better fight off diseases and live a healthier and happier life.

Are you looking for other helpful nutritional articles like this one? If so, then make sure to check out the rest of our blog today for more!

Read more: Iron-Rich Foods for Toddlers

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