What Are Phytonutrients?
Phytonutrients is another one of those nutritional buzzwords; along with the often-mentioned antioxidants. If you say something has these in it, then it MUST be good, right?
What are they anyway?
Also known as phytochemicals, they are easy to understand. The word describes nutrients or chemical compounds found in plant material. Nutrients in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes can all be classed as phytochemicals.
The term is usually used to refer to chemicals which may affect health, but are not yet accepted as essential. There are countless studies which support a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables; however the evidence is lacking when it comes to the benefits of specific phytochemicals.
Whether or not you are a vegetarian, consuming lots of nutrient-rich plant food is going to keep you alive through old age.
Benefits of Phytonutrients
When considering the benefits, one is considering the benefits of a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables as a whole.
- Prevent cancer. I know I keep saying this all over this site, but it’s 100% true. Eating a diet high in fruit and vegetables is guaranteed to lower your risk of cancer.
- Increase energy. The phytochemicals in plants will enhance various bodily functions (such as digestion), thus freeing up energy for you to use in enjoying your life.
- Slow aging. Research has shown that phytochemicals protect the body from aging. Various chemicals in plants strengthen the body’s immune system and increase its resistance to disease. The easiest way to look younger for longer is eating more plant food.
- Bounce out of bed in the mornings. By eating more fruits and vegetables, your body will be getting the nutrient resources it needs. This will allow you to enjoy a deeper sleep and wake up feeling more rested.
- Get more done. When you’re feeling good, you’re naturally going to be more motivated and get more done.
- Enjoy life. You’ll hear about this one the most. When anyone increases their intake of fruits and vegetables, they almost always end up feeling better about life as a whole. Make eating this way a habit and you’ll enhance your life massively.
The benefits are MASSIVE. You can find out more on these pages:
The Downside of the Western Diet
In our modern diets, we often consume processed foods. This includes many things including white bread, white rice, most pastas, packaged foods, and so on. Even cooking counts as processing!
Unfortunately, our modern methods of processing destroy and remove important nutrients. That’s right – cooking destroys valuable phytonutrients. This is why many health conscious people eat a raw food diet.
Processed foods (the vast majority of food in today’s supermarkets) are likely to contain far fewer nutrients than fresh fruits and vegetables. For this reason, it is vital to your health that you find easy ways to consume fresh produce.
Juicing is one of these easy ways. It’s not the only way and definitely not 100% necessary, however if you’re struggling to supply your body with phytochemicals, a big green juice first thing in the morning is an excellent solution.