Monday, August 15, 2016

Phytonutrients – The Essence of a Super Food

What makes super foods so incredibly special and the perfect source for optimal health is the high content of phytonutrients that they contain. I’m referring directly to plant-based super foods. Plants contain thousands of natural chemicals, called phytonutrients or phytochemicals. Although phytonutrients are not essential for sustaining life, they do enhance the quality of life. The body depends on vitamins, a few minerals, essential fatty acids, and proteins to survive. However, the non-traditional nutrients, or phytonutrients, actually play a much larger role than previously understood. These accessory nutrients safeguard health and enhance the quality of life. Phytonutrients boost the immune system, and can potentially help prevent disease in general, through better communication and prevention of mutations at a cellular level. Some phytonutrients act as an anti-inflammatory, and others are powerful antioxidants. There are more than 25,000 phytonutrients found in plant foods.

Phytonutrients are broken down into many classes, groups, and subgroups which are determined by their chemical structures. The list is quite long, but what I can state is that these different phytochemicals have a multitude of functions, including but not limited to:

  • acting as powerful antioxidants
  • impacting metabolic enzymes
  • altering hormone levels 
  • detoxing free radicals and cancer agents
  • acting as a natural antibiotic and anti-fungal
  • acting as an anti-inflammatory
  • naturally activating and supporting the body’s immune system

In order to truly benefit from the abundance of phytonutrients naturally available to us, we should enrich our diets with phytonutrient-dense super foods. These super foods include various fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, grains, seaweeds, herbs and spices, and fermented foods. This will allow for a more diverse micro-environment of antioxidants as well as other significant biomolecules to aid the body in building resilience and health at the cellular level. Phytonutrients are the essence of a super food. Phytonutrient-dense foods are in fact super foods!

 …Next article in the series: Chlorophyll – The King of All Plant Molecules

1 comment:

  1. Infusing your dish with magic truffles/mushroom will certainly give you a different kind of satisfaction. But not everyone can be that adventurous and has guts to experiment specially when it comes on something they eat. I came across this article about a very common dish infuse with mushroom. Hope this link helps you