27 May The Superpower of Phytonutrients
Now that we’ve discussed food groups, macronutrients, and micronutrients, next up we have phytonutrients. These are a personal favorite because their superpowers are extensive and amazing, plus they’re available at a garden or grocery store near you!
VeryWell Fit shares:
Many of these phytochemicals give the foods their color or smell. Foods containing phytochemicals are often very colorful, but white foods such as onions, garlic, and even olive oil are high in these nutrients. As far as function, these nutrients can be thought of as part of the plant’s “immune system,” as they offer protection against viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites.
MD Anderson shares:
“Like any biologically living thing, plants have adapted tools that help them survive,” says Lindsey Wohlford, wellness dietitian at MD Anderson. “Phytonutrients formed to keep plants healthy by fighting diseases and other threats. They benefit the plant, and that benefit is passed on to us.”
Phytonutrients are still being studied, but research is starting to show that they may:
- Stimulate your immune system to fight disease
- Reduce inflammation
- Prevent DNA damage and help DNA repair
- Reduce cell damage
- Slow cancer cell growth
- Regulate hormones
- Neutralize some toxins and stop them from becoming carcinogens
Here are four tips to help you eat all the colors of the rainbow.
- Make colorful meals. When you make a meal, focus on making it colorful.
- Try the grocery store color challenge. When you shop, aim to get foods in all the colors of the rainbow.
- Maximize your salads. You can add just about any color of plant food to a salad.
- Include as many plant foods in your diet as you can. It would be easy if there was one superfood that contained all the nutrients we need, but that’s not the case. The key is variety, which is harder to achieve. If you can aim to get as many plant foods into your diet as you can, you’ll be on the right track.
Read the full article from MD Anderson here and enjoy their beautiful phytonutrient infographic.
By Victoria Emmitt RD