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Rodrigo Louvat
I am a Marketing Associate at Tera in charge of digital marketing and content creation, writing blog articles and newsletters. Drop me a line at rodrigo.louvat@hellotera.com if you feel like it!

What are the Powerful Health Benefits of Phytonutrients?

Phytonutrients: Guardians of the Cell

Phytonutrients, also known as phytochemicals, are natural compounds found in plants. They give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors, aromas, and flavors. But more than that, they play a vital role in our health.

Phytonutrients are packed with powerful antioxidants that help protect our cells from damage. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and can help boost our immune system. Research has shown that phytonutrients may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

What are some of the most important phytonutrients?

There are thousands of different ones, but some of the most important include:

  • Carotenoids: Carotenoids are pigments that give fruits and vegetables their yellow, orange, and red colors. They are powerful antioxidants that can help protect against cancer and heart disease. Good sources of carotenoids include carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and spinach.
  • Flavonoids: Flavonoids are pigments that give fruits and vegetables their blue, purple, and red colors. They have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and can help boost the immune system. Good sources of flavonoids include berries, onions, apples, and grapes.
  • Glucosinolates: Glucosinolates are compounds found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. They have anti-cancer properties and can help boost the immune system.
  • Allyl sulfides: Allyl sulfides are compounds found in garlic and onions. They have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and can help boost the immune system.
5 colors of phytonutrients info graphic

How many phytonutrients do I need?

There is no recommended daily intake for phytonutrients. However, research suggests that eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Aim to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal to get a good dose.

How can I get more phytonutrients in my diet?

Here are some tips for adding more phytonutrients to your diet:

  • Eat a rainbow of produce. Different fruits and vegetables contain different phytonutrients, so it’s important to eat a variety of colors.
  • Choose whole fruits and vegetables over processed options. Whole fruits and vegetables contain more phytonutrients than processed options.
  • Cook fruits and vegetables gently. Overcooking can destroy some of the phytonutrients.
  • Add herbs and spices to your cooking. Herbs and spices are packed with phytonutrients.

Here are some specific examples of phytonutrient-rich foods and how to incorporate them into your diet:

  • Carotenoids:
    • Carrots: Add grated carrots to salads, soups, and stews.
    • Sweet potatoes: Roast or bake sweet potatoes for a delicious and nutritious side dish.
    • Tomatoes: Add sliced tomatoes to sandwiches, salads, and pizzas.
    • Spinach: Add spinach to smoothies, soups, and salads.
  • Flavonoids:
    • Berries: Add berries to yogurt, oatmeal, and cereal.
    • Onions: Add chopped onions to omelets, stir-fries, and soups.
    • Apples: Eat apples as a snack or add them to salads and smoothies.
    • Grapes: Eat grapes as a snack or add them to salads and yogurt.
  • Glucosinolates:
    • Broccoli: Steam or roast broccoli for a healthy and delicious side dish.
    • Cauliflower: Cauliflower can be used to make rice, mashed potatoes, and even pizza crusts.
    • Cabbage: Cabbage can be used to make coleslaw, stir-fries, and soups.
  • Allyl sulfides:
    • Garlic: Add minced garlic to stir-fries, soups, and sauces.
    • Onions: Onions can be used in a variety of dishes, such as omelets, sandwiches, and salads.
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