Posted by Manuela Boyle
on 8 April 2021
Phytonutrients are plant-based chemicals available through a diet that includes whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs. Research suggests that these bioactive compounds, which contribute to a plant's colour, taste, and smell, also have beneficial health effects. For example, flavonoids are compounds found in cocoa, apples, and green tea. Epidemiological studies have suggested a positive association between diets high in flavonoid-rich foods and cardiovascular health, while clinical trials have shown lower blood pressure results after consumption of flavonoid-rich food. In addition, phytochemicals such as sulforaphane and lycopene have health-promoting properties and protective effects against many diseases, including cancers1 Even with the suggested benefits, according to a Centres for Disease Control and Prevention report, only one in ten adults meet the recommendations for fruit and vegetable daily intake, potentially increasing their risk for developing chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.
Rees A, Dodd GF, Spencer JPE. The effects of flavonoids on cardiovascular health: a review of human intervention trials and implications for cerebrovascular function. Nutrients. 2018;10(12):1852. doi:10.3390/nu10121852
Klomparens EA, Ding Y. The neuroprotective mechanisms and effects of sulforaphane. Brain Circ. 2019;5(2):74-83. doi:10.4103/bc.bc_7_19
Grabowska M, Wawrzyniak D, Rolle K, et al. Let food be your medicine: nutraceutical properties of lycopene. Food Funct. 2019;10(6):3090-3102. doi:10.1039/c9fo00580c
Only 1 in 10 adults get enough fruits or vegetables. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published November 16, 2017. Accessed February 9, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p1116-fruit-vegetable-consumption.html