The Benefits Of Phytonutrients Foods
Everyone is talking about them but what exactly are Phytonutrients apart from being the latest and hottest item as far as diet and nutrition go?
Due to the fact that their properties are still being investigated there are no FDA guidelines as far as any health benefits are concerned for phytochemicals, the compounds which come from the skins of highly colored fruit and vegetables and as a consequence, labeling them as phytonutrients seems to be avoided.
However, the results of many studies indicate that these compounds are more than likely to be beneficial and there appears to be no doubt that such foods are nutritional. The experts recommend them and tend to agree that the only area needing clarification is whether or not they help the immune system as well as combating certain diseases like colon cancer, for example.
Which Foods Contain Phytonutrients and How Can They Help Us?
Some form of phytochemicals can be found in fruit and vegetables with a strong skin color.
Take a look at tomatoes. They contain lycopene and a link to a reduction in the amount of people suffering with prostrate cancer has been made to this particular phytochemical. Figures revealed that when male adults consume more than ten servings each week, they have a 35% lower risk of prostrate cancer than those who only eat 1.5 or less servings.
How many times throughout childhood did we hear someone say 'eat your spinach'. Phytochemicals called carotenoids may be the reason for this sound advice as those eating spinach on a regular basis had a 46% lower risk of macular degeneration, when compared to the people taking part in the studies who only ate spinach a maximum of one time each month.
Then we have flavonoids, a rich source of antioxidants, which has been proved based on the results of numerous studies due to the way in which they work. Free radicals or roaming oxygen atoms carry sufficient energy to damage cells. However, when combined with antioxidants they are rendered harmless.
Leading British medical journal, Lancet published a European study which stated that Dutch men who consumed over 30 mg of flavonoids each day had a 58% lower risk of heart disease compared with those who only had 19mg or less every day.
Flavonoids are part of a larger class known as polyphenols which have similar properties. They can found in apples, blueberries and strawberries and red wine which we all know, in limited quantities can be good for our health.
The eating of fruit and vegetables has been linked to a decrease in the chance of having a stroke and this has been reported in the Journal of the AMA (American Medical Association. When the people taking part in the studies consumed over three servings each day the results showed a 22% decrease as far as hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes were concerned.
How Much Do We Get in a Normal Day?
The average American eats 3.3 servings of vegetables per day. However the ones with phytochemicals are usually consumed in smaller quantities than the others at about 0.2 servings. There is, in fact, around 10% of the population who only eat, at the most, one serving of vegetables each day.
Statistics show that 29% of the population (less than one third) eats the minimum number of fruit servings each day with nearly half of the population eating less than one serving of fruit daily. Even for those people on restricted low carbohydrate diets, this figure is extremely low.
Research studies on phytochemicals continue at a speedy pace, just as they do in numerous areas of nutritional science. Nonetheless, with the knowledge we have gleaned today it is obvious that certain kinds of fruit and vegetables are required to be eaten to ensure a balanced and healthy diet regime is being followed.