With the passage of time, a north american diet
appears to almost
always contain more fatty processed foods and less natural plant based
foods than in the past. The end results of this obvious trend can be
seen in research statistics relating to cancer, heart disease, strokes,
elevated cholesterol levels and many other forms of degenerative
diseases suffered by numerous individuals.
Apart from the undisputable dietary problems
the consumption of high fat foods, protein and simple carbohydrates is
the considerably inadequate intake of plant based foods and all the
health giving benefits which they provide.
A lot of people are aware that eating plant based
much needed fiber, vitamins and minerals to the diet however what they
may not realize are the many benefits of the phytochemicals that these
Phytochemicals come in a variety of forms.
vegetables have higher concentrations of a particular phytochemical
than others and some of these main phytochemicals include:
Carotenoids - Found in
broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, squash, sweet potato and yams.
Flavonoids - Found in cabbage,
cucumber, parsley, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, soybeans and berries.
Isoflavones - Found in peas,
beans and legumes.
Indioles - Found in brussels
sprouts, cauliflower, turnips, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage and kale.
Lignans - Found in walnuts,
flaxseeds and many other nuts and seeds.
Lipids (fatty acids) - Found in
hemp seeds and oil, walnuts and flaxseeds.
Plant Sterols - Found in hemp seed
and oil eggplant, soybeans, peppers, tomatoes, squash, cucumber,
cabbage and broccoli.
The above noted list is only a small part of the
whole phytochemical family which encompasses an extensive range of
Benefits of Phytochemicals
Phytochemicals act in numerous ways to assist your body in combating
disease and health problems such as:
1) Helps to protect the cells by blocking
carcinogens that try to enter the cell walls.
2) Helps to fight the malignant changes within
cells that have already been penetrated by carcinogens.
3) Appears to boost enzyme activity to increase
the benefits of the various protective enzymes consumed within the
4) Combines with numerous vitamins to boost
activity to scavenge free radicals before they can cause damage within
5) Has been proven to reduce bad cholesterol
Although it is not important to know the names and
the large range of phytochemicals that exist, what is important is to
understand that maintaining a diet that contains a variety of fruits,
nuts and vegetables will combine the benefits of the phytochemicals and
vitamins to help you achieve optimal health.