Wednesday Wisdom – Phytochemicals and 4 Great Reasons to Eat More Plants
You may have never heard the term phytochemicals and you may have trouble pronouncing it, but I bet you will love what they can do.
Phytochemicals are non-essential and non-nutritive plant chemicals. What makes them wonderful is that they have properties that can protect you against disease. While they are not required by your body for life-sustaining functions recent research shows that they can do a lot to help you keep that beautiful body of yours healthy and moving.
Here are 4 cool benefits:
1. Function as an antioxidant – many phytochemicals can protect your cells by scavenging free radicals and thus reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Carotenoids in yams and carrots are a good example.
2. Influence hormone function – some phytochemicals such as isoflavones found in soy and lignans found in flax can mimic estrogen in the body while others can stimulate enzymes and minimize the effect of estrogen and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer. Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage can have this effect.
3. Protect DNA – Capsaicin which is what makes peppers hot can help protect DNA from carcinogens and may reduce the replication of cancer cells.
4. Antibacterial – we all know garlic is good for us, but did you know that it contains allicin, which is a phytochemical that acts as an anti-bacterial agent? Other phytochemicals also have anti-viral properties and can prevent pathogens from adhering to cell walls. For example consuming cranberries may prevent incidents of urinary tract infections. That’s cool!
So, how do you take advantage of all these wonderful benefits? That’s the easy part. Consume more fruits and vegetables. Make a salad, try juicing, throw some spinach in with your eggs and ask for a side of grilled tomatoes instead of toast with your omelette.
If you need help staying accountable to your fruits and veggies, give my Lean & Clean challenge a try. You will love the support and how you feel after 10-days of focused nutrition. Register here www.agratefullife.ca/
For a list of plants containing phytochemicals check out this page.
For more information on Phytochemicals check out these links: