What are Phytonutrients?

Are you confused with all different opinions of diet trends? You are not alone. We are often bombarded with nutritional information overload. Popular diets are Ketogenic Diet, Paleo Diet, Clean Eating Diet, Gluten Free Diet, Bulletproof Diet, Intermittent Fasting, and Vertical Diet in the last copy of years.

Everyone wants to feel and look their BEST with simple & easy solutions. But there is no secret for creating good health. Either you work with calorie counting diet or not. The purpose of food is to provide nutrients that the body needs. The body needs quality sources of food and phytonutrient diversity to support the functions of organs/glands in order to produce and metabolize hormones to move individuals toward the highest expression of health. Eating the same food every day doesn’t support your body to the optimal state.

What are Phytonutrients?

Phytonutrients are components of plants that are powerful defenders of health. Many studies show that people who eat more plant foods have reduced risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.

Phytonutrients provide many functions within the plant itself, such as providing protection from pests and environmental stressors, along with imparting colour and distinctive tastes and smells. In the human body, phytonutrients stimulate enzymes that help to get rid of toxins, boost the immune system, improve cardiovascular health, promote healthy estrogen metabolism, and stimulate the death of cancer cells. It sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

Phytonutrients come in a variety of colours of plant foods such as green, yellow, orange, red, blue, purple, and brown.

In order to promote good health, it is important to eat plant food especially colourful vegetables and fruits on a daily basis. Think about your grocery list. What colour of vegetables and fruit do you add in your grocery bag?

If your answer is one or two colours, then you should aim for two or three colours of plant foods to get started.

Starting with colour is the foundation of developing a healthy way of eating for everyone. Food as a medicine, plants are good medicine for preventing chronic diseases in functional medicine.

How to get more phytonutrients in your meals daily basis

Aim for 9-13 Servings of Plant Foods every day.

The body needs 9-13 servings of plant foods in order to prevent chronic disease. If you have 3 meals per day, you should aim for 3-4 servings per meal. If you aren’t used to eating vegetables, then start with 1 serving per meal and increase the portion on a weekly basis.

1 serving equals a half cup of cooked vegetables, 1 cup of raw leafy green, or a medium-size fruit. I strongly recommend more vegetables and less fruit to balance insulin secretion.

Know Your Phytonutrient Sources

Foods rich in phytonutrients are limitless, making it fun to experiment with new varieties and colours of food. Sources of phytonutrients are; fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices.

Focus on Colors, Colors, and Colors

There are thousands of phytonutrients. If you eat the same foods over and over again, even if they are colourful, you may be missing the important phytonutrients in foods. Try to introduce a new food every week to ensure that you are getting phytochemicals in your system.

Maximize Combinations of Food

When you combine certain foods together, we may achieve a better effect than if we just had the foods by themselves. Sometimes, there can be a synergistic result of combining certain foods. For instance, combining turmeric, black pepper, and olive oil can enhance the phytonutrient effects of all three foods on your health. Adding fresh lemon zest to spinach can help the iron become more absorbed by your body.

Be Aware of Your Food Sources

What foods are most important to eat organically? Organic meats and dairy appear to be the least contaminated with hormones, pesticides, and herbicides. Produce can be quite variable. If you are unable to eat the organic product, it is wise to be aware of those products that are the least contaminated with pesticides.

The Environmental Working Group Publishes the list of Dirty Dozen™ and Clean 15 ™; ewg.org

Dirty Dozen™

EWG’s 2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

Clean 15 ™

EWG’s 2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce ™

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn*
  3. Pineapple
  4. Sweet Peas Frozen
  5. Onions
  6. Papayas*
  7. Eggplants
  8. Asparagus
  9. Kiwis
  10. Cabbages
  11. Cauliflower
  12. Cantaloupes
  13. Broccoli
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Honeydew Melons

A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds (GMO). Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.

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