have become particularly excited in recent years
about a group of compounds found in vegetables,
fruits and other plant foods called phytochemicals.
Phyto is Greek for plantso phytochemicals
simply means plant chemicals.
as your body has an immune system that protects
you from illness, plants naturally produce different
phytochemicals to protect themselves from bacteria,
viruses and fungi. Incredibly, scientists have
discovered that these same compounds can also
work as powerful disease blockers in humans.
far, thousands of different phytochemicals have
been identified in plant foods including flavonoids
(found in berries, citrus fruits, onions, apples,
grapes and soy); sulforaphane, indoles
and isothiocyanates (found in cruciferous
vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage); protease
inhibitors (found in grains and beans); allicin
(found in garlic); lycopene (found in high
amounts in tomatoes) and resveratrol (found
in high amounts in grapes).
have found that different types of phytochemicals
work in different ways to prevent disease. Some
phytochemicals have anti-inflammatory properties
and can help to inhibit clotting that can lead
to a heart attack. Other phytochemicals have been
found to reduce the risk of heart disease by influencing
the absorption of cholesterol in your body. Some
phytochemicals act like scavengers and remove
carcinogens (cancer causing compounds) from your
cells. And scientists from Cornell University
in New York have found that certain phytochemicals
can even prevent carcinogens from forming in the
and fruits are a very good source of phytochemicals,
and so are other types of plant foods like legumes,
whole grains and nuts.
to make sure you get the best protection it's
important to eat a wide variety of these sorts
of foodssomething that's very easy to do
when you follow a MediterrAsian way of eating!
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