Published: 08/14/2009 - Updated: 09/16/2018
The phytonutrients, also known as phytochemicals, are compounds of the plants themselves that provide various benefits to the body and are connected in some way with the pigments of plants and are usually in fresh foods, fruit and vegetable extracts and oils cold-pressed. Vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients are inducers, modulating enzymes and hormones substances capable of activating processes favorable for the organism. However, the phytonutrients are classified into a special category, apart from vitamins and minerals, which, although beneficial in some aspects in the body, lack of nutritional value.
Properties of phytonutrients
- They can help to combat degenerative diseases of the body.
- They act as natural antioxidants: the slow pace with which organs and tissues are damaged.
- They are chemical compounds from the plants themselves, in addition to giving its color, help protect them from any harmful foreign agent and overcome inclement atmosphere of their own.
- Assist in the elimination of toxins.
- Safeguard the DNA of cells.
- They inhibit certain carcinogens.
- Strengthen the immune system.
- Assist in the prevention of chronic degenerative diseases such as cataracts, arthritis, diabetes, atherosclerosis, etc..
- Helps keep the blood flowing and reduce the tendency to form clots.
- Improve movement, the caliber of the dilated blood vessels by promoting the irrigation of blood throughout the body.
- Encourage the production of various blood cells that protect us from fungi, bacteria, and viruses.
- Inhibit the production of harmful cholesterol.
- Amendment to brain functions, causing problems such as poor memory, depression, dementia and Parkinson's ills are less likely to affect the person.
Types of Phytonutrients
There are several types of phytonutrients in foods that can be found either at a rate of several types. Among the most important phytonutrients we highlight are the following:
- Caffeic acid: this is mainly found in propolis, black tea, green tea and wheat bran.
- Ellagic acid was found in red fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and red grapes. Its effect on the body is to protect the DNA of chemical carcinogens, inhibiting the production of malignant cells. It also has an antioxidant function.
- Phenolic acids are mainly found in the eggplant, soybeans, broccoli, cabbage, citrus fruits, grains, parsley, tomatoes, peppers, carrot, blackberry and raspberry blue. Its effect is an antioxidant in the body, stimulates the enzymatic activity, inhibit the production of prostaglandins.
- Lipoic acid was mainly found in brewer's yeast, liver, wheat germ, whole grains, tomatoes, spinach, etc.. Its effect is antioxidant (soluble in lipid and water soluble), stimulates the production of energy, reagent and glutathione vitamins C and E.
- Alicine is mainly found in garlic and onion. Its effect on the organism is antibiotic, antiviral, protects against various forms of cancer, is immunostimulatory and antifungal.
- Beta-carotene: is found mainly in carrots, melons, mangoes, pumpkin, orange, spirulina, peaches, tomatoes, apricots, and orange fruits and vegetables. Its effect is an antioxidant in the body, Macrophage, potent deactivater of oxygen (a particularly aggressive form of free radical).
- Cetilmiristoleato is mainly found in olive oil, wheat germ, soya, sesame, sunflower. Its effect is anti-inflammatory in the body, useful in the treatment of arthritis and certain other autoimmune disorders.
- Sulfur compounds are mainly found in garlic and onion. Its effect on the body is an antioxidant, antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal, inhibiting the production of cholesterol, normalizes serotonin brain, protect against various forms of cancer.
- Flavonoids are found primarily in citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, plums, pollen, propolis, green tea, quince, soybeans, buckwheat, peppers, parsley, kiwi, cabbage, cherries, etc. Its effect on the body is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, inhibit tumor formation, protect blood vessels and improve circulation and risk of vitamins and minerals throughout the body.
- Isoflavones are found mainly in soybeans, peas, the beans, cowpea, lentils, dandelion and flaxseed. Its action in the body is to promote the production of anticancer enzymes, inhibit the production of estrogen to inhibit bone loss, lowers harmful cholesterol.
- Limonoid and limonene are mainly found in lemons, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and citrus. Its effect on the body is encouraging the production of protective enzymes and has an antiseptic effect.
- Quercetin: found mainly in Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onion, pollen, apple, propolis, radishes, squash, broccoli, cauliflower. Its effect on the body is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, anti-hormones that promote cancer, protects against cataracts, blocks the development of malignant cells.
The list of phytonutrients is long, so far are classified into 101 different phytonutrients.