The Power of Phytonutrients and How They Keep Us Healthy Print Write e-mail
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Phytochemicals - Phytochemicals - Articles
Written by Frank Mangano   
What are Phytonutrients?

Phytonutrients, also called phytochemicals, are nature’s way of keeping us healthy. The word itself breaks down to mean “plant (phyto) nutrition.” It is the innate qualities found in plant based foods that fights disease and promotes overall good health. Phyllis A. Balch, CNC in her book, “Prescription for Nutritional Healing,” defines phytochemicals as: “the biologically active substance in plants that are responsible for giving them color, flavor, and natural disease resistance.”

The list of highly nutritious foods is easy to assemble. Just take a walk through the produce department of your local grocery store, or even better, the local farm stand. Because the nutrients are all-natural, they can decay quickly and lose some of their healthy benefits. Foods that are the freshest and organically grown will provide the highest quality phytonutrients.

Fresh berries are the source of some of the best antioxidant phytonutrients. Specifically, blueberries contain flavonoids which in study after study have proven to protect against many types of cancer and brain damage, including the kind that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. The flavonoids actually prevent the hormones that cause cancer form attaching to cells. Because blueberries can positively impact the arteries, they help fight heart and Alzheimer’s disease by lowering cholesterol and keeping the arteries clear of plaque.

Another type of berry that is able to provide beneficial phytonutrients is the cranberry. They help with the urinary tract to fight infection and can even reduce stomach ulcers, lower the bad kind of cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and may even help prevent breast cancer.

Some other great sources of phytonutrients can be found in:

Strawberries: A great source of vitamin C, strawberries can help prevent heart disease and are an overall good antioxidant.

Raspberries: The phytochemicals in raspberries are known to fight cancer. This coupled with the many vitamins and minerals make them a healthy choice.

Chlorella & Spirulina: Often referred to as “super foods” the microalgae of chlorella and the blue-green algae of spirulina are believed to protect the liver and kidneys. Japan has been studying the benefits of these foods for decades and more recent studies in the U.S. are validating their findings.

Ongoing research is leading to the discovery of new phytochemicals and phytonutrients every year. Supplement manufacturers are jumping on the band wagon in order to get in on the potential sales that these super supplements can bring, knowing that the average American diet is certainly lacking in a good, varied supply of the disease fighting nutrients. However, supplements should never be used as a replacement for good, fresh foods. The body does not process them in the same way and it is nearly impossible to replicate the balance of nutrients found in whole foods. Only a whole food supplement comes close to ensuring you are getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals.

The most important thing to remember is to eat foods at their peak of freshness -- not under ripened or over ripe. Although heating foods does not appear to destroy the innate phytochemicals it does destroy many of the vitamins. Eating a wide variety of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables in an array of colors will ensure you are getting the most from nature’s phytonutrients.
Frank Mangano is an active member of his community who works diligently providing assistance to senior citizens and probing as a health advocate to discover new and innovative ways to promote well being. The hard work and persistence that Frank has invested in recent years is reflected through his writings:

The Silent Killer Exposed

The 60 Day Prescription Free Cholesterol Cure

The Mind Killer Defense, co-authored by Kim Wierman

  

 

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