The term phyto is said to have originated from the Greek word which means plant. Phytonutrients or also called as Phytochemicals are the organic compounds which are found in plants. Some of the phytonutrients can help in promoting the health of a human. Some of the common classes of these phytonutrients include flavonoids, carotenoids, phenols and also cyclic compounds. They also contain some vitamins like beta carotene and lycopene.
Of all the phytonutrients that are there the carotenoids have been under the most extensive study.
The carotenoids mainly comprise of the beta carotene, the alpha carotene, lycopene, lutein among many others. Carotenoids are most commonly found among the orange, yellow and red pigments that one finds in vegetables and fruits. Polyphenols are among the natural components of the wide variety of the plants that can be classified as the flavonoids and the non flavonoids. The dietary sources that are rich in polyphenols are the apples, onions, teas, red wines, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and also some of the nuts. The phytonutrients are not considered to be the essential traditional nutrients like fat, protein, vitamins and minerals. Even though many of the phytonutrients have been now identified, there are still many thousands out there which are yet to be discovered. The main function of the phytonutrients is to protect all the humans against various diseases like heart disease, cancer and other age related diseases like macular degeneration. There are a few proposed mechanisms where in some of the phytonutrients can help in protecting the human health. The phytonutrients can help in serving as antioxidants and also in enhancing one’s immune response. These phytonutrients also help in altering the estrogen metabolism and help to convert to beta carotene or vitamin A. the phytonutrients are known to lead to the death of cancer cells in some cases through the process known as apoptosis and also help in the repairing of any DNA damage that is the result of pollutants and toxins. These include smoking and taking drugs. The phytonutrients can help in the detoxification of carcinogens through the process of activation of cytochrome and other enzyme systems. The toxicity levels on the system are not really known as yet. Some of the main dietary sources include grains, nuts, legumes, and dark green leafy vegetables. There are many drug supplementary interactions that are possible and these include citrus bioflavonoid preparations like the grapefruit juice. Research and various studies have shown that vegetable and fruit consumption is helpful in protecting one’s health and is also beneficial in lowering the risk of any chronic diseases like some of the cancers and also some heart disease conditions. Thus the phytonutrients cancer correlation cannot be ignored. Phytonutrients are thus chemical compounds which appear quite naturally in all the of plant foods. Different varieties of plant foods give different types of phytonutrients that is why it’s so vital to eat a wide range. Another type of phytonutrients is resveratrol that is found in red wine and has strong cancer-fighting properties. Resveratrol is known to be a potent antioxidant and is even considered to be more potent than vitamin C. It is found to ac synergistically along with vitamin C and thus helps to enhance both the effects. It is also beneficial in the prevention of the formation of any blood clots and additionally promotes the new formation of dendrites in a person’s brain. Some of the main antioxidants include green tea, leafy green vegetables, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Acai berry is very useful in helping those who are losing weight. It is found to work even faster than dieting and exercising.