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Anthocyanins, Proanthocyanidins, Bioflavenoids, Carotenoids, Catechins Glucosinolates Organosulphides and Phytoestrogens

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Phytochemicals - The New Micronutrients

Phytochemicals: Powerful Plant Nutrition

Phytochemicals are the newest group of micronutrients. They are biologically active compounds found in plant foods. The word "phytochemical" comes from the Greek word "phyto", meaning "plant." And since plants are largely made up of carbohydrate (like the complex carbohydrate, dietary fiber) phytochemicals and carbs are closely associated.

Semi-Essential Micronutrients

Phytochemicals are not classified as essential nutrients, because our diet does not require them to sustain life in the same way as vitamins or minerals. Even so, phytochemicals can play a vital role in our body's biochemistry, so they can be be seen as semi-essential micronurients.

Although no RDAs have been established for these chemical substances, nutrition scientists and medical researchers have discovered that they have potent disease-prevention and immunity-boosting qualities.

Here is a selection of the main phytochemicals, their carbohydrate-rich food sources and health benefits.

Some Phytochemicals - Food Sources and Health Benefits

Phytochemical: Anthocyanins/Proanthocyanidins
Good Carb Sources: berries, cherries, red grapes, plums, red-cabbage.
Health Benefits: Protects heart, lungs and blood vessels.

Phytochemical: Bioflavenoids (eg.Taxifolin, Rutin, Ellagic Acid, Quercetin)
Good Carb Sources: citrus fruits, black tea, red wine, onions, tomatoes, apples, potatoes, grapes, broad beans.
Health Benefits: Anti-cancer benefits. Powerful antioxidant.

Phytochemical: Carotenoids (eg. Lycopene, Lutein, Capsanthin)
Good Carb Sources: carrots, mangos, peaches, pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and dark leafy green vegetables.
Health Benefits: Anti-cancer benefits.

Phytochemical: Catechins (eg.Epigallocatechin Gallate)
Good Carb Sources: green tea, apples.
Health Benefits: Anti-cancer benefits. Powerful antioxidant.

Phytochemical:Glucosinolates (eg.Sulphoraphane Sinigrin Isothiocyanate)
Good Carb Sources: broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, watercress.
Health Benefits: Anti-cancer properties, including ability to reduce the growth of pre-cancerous cells.

Phytochemical: Organosulphides (eg. Allicin)
Good Carb Sources: garlic, onions, leeks.
Health Benefits: Helps fight stomach cancer and reduces LDL cholesterol.

Phytochemical: Phytoestrogens (eg. Isoflavones, Lignans)
Good Carb Sources: soy beans, flax seeds, berries.
Health Benefits: Protects against breast cancer, prostate cancer and menopause symptoms.

Other Phytochemicals

Other phytochemicals include: Bromelain (from pineapples) has blood-thinning properties; Capsaicin (from chilies), is an antioxidant and pain-reliever; Chlorophyll (from wheat grass, seaweeds, dark green vegetables) has anti-cancer and antiradiation properties; Coumarins (from tomatoes, green peppers, strawberries, carrots) has blood-thinning benefits; Papain (from papaya) helps relieve pain; Resveratrol (from red grapes) helps protect against heart disease.

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