Off late human body must fight many things, all thanks to us, we have polluted our air, our environment, our food. With the corruption on the rise even healthcare, medicines aren’t all that effective sometimes, and available to all. So, in such circumstances, what can one do to stay healthy? Well imagine if this was an old-fashioned war, you can’t just go with a sword in hand, right you would need a battle plan, and you’ll step down into the arena with your amour on. Safety first. Applying this logic to our predicament, consider knowledge as your battle plan, essential vitamins, nutrients, exercising as your weapons. And phytonutrients as your armor.
Phytonutrients also called phytochemicals are nutrients or chemicals found in plants, which are responsible for many processes within them. And when we consume those plants, we end up gaining those phytonutrients as well. These are beneficial to us in the sense they boost up our immunity and help us fight against many risk factors (which we will discuss in length). But the word itself is pronounced fight-o-nutrients, even though the Greek word Phyto means plant. Hell, if that doesn’t ring a bell, nothing would.
They are present in many fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee, cocoa, whole grain products, nuts and seeds, spices, even some legumes. You know what the cool part about them is, they are responsible for the coloring of the plant, which makes it easy for us to spot them, as long as you go with a colorful array of foods you’ll be sure to be eating up phytonutrients.
There are thousands of them available, but only a few have gain notability. Which are:
- Flavonoids: They are the famous ones, to be honest, the first time I heard that word was in Red label Tea add, but yes catechins are the flavonoid present in tea. Hesperidin in citrus fruits and there are various other types of flavonoids. They are considered to fight inflammation, and detoxification, leading to longer lives. Common sources include Apples, Onions, Coffee, Grapefruit, Tea, kale, leeks.
- Ellagic Acid: considered good for the liver by neutralizing the cancer-causing chemicals. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant power it is considered to reduce the risk of cancers and heart-healthy. It is found in raspberries, strawberries, grapes, cranberries, walnuts, pomegranates, pecans Etc.
- Carotenoids: responsible for coloring the vegetable orange, yellow and red. They work as antioxidants, working on the free radicals, leaving you healthier. They are also beneficial for eyes and reduce the risks of macular degeneration. Also, they are good for the skin. Sources include sweet potatoes, papaya, spinach, kale, melons, yams.
- Lycopene: gives the red color to tomatoes, watermelon, has been known to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. It’s also easier for the body to absorb.
- Resveratrol: leads to the purple shade. So, think about grapes, red wine. Also present in cocoa, blueberries. It contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which reduces cardiovascular risk
- Curcumin: this can help in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s. It removes toxic compounds, making it effective against risks of colon, stomach, mouth, liver cancers. The best source is turmeric.
There are others as well Lignans aka phytoestrogens greatly beneficial to females, sulfides, Glucosinolates. In nutshell, to stay healthy, you cannot depend upon one single source, you have to gather all allies, and protect your realm by putting up a joint strong front.