Phytonutrients are essential nutrients for health


Phytonutrients help keep your free radicals in check which is important. Free radicals exist in your body and depending on how much you have, can be both good and bad. 


Two ways to keep your free radicals in check.


1/ Minimize your exposure to toxins.


Think of toxin exposure kind of like antagonizing an older sibling. It’s fun for a few seconds but then there are consequences that are usually not so fun — especially if you do it often. A good example is smoking.


Smoking is one of those habits that might feel good in the act but that has big health consequences later. Pesticides, sun and sugar are also toxic to the body so do your best to limit your exposure. Environmental toxins used in your home and body, metals and high-oxygen atmospheres also stimulate the body to over produce free radicals.


2/ Phytonutrients help keep your free radical levels in check.


Phytonutrients sounds like a word for health radicals but phytonutrients are just nutrients found in certain plants which are believed to be beneficial to human health.


The scientific names for phytonutrients [aka: antioxidants, flavonoids, phytochemicals, flavones, isoflavones, catechizes, anthocyanidins, isothiocyanates, carotenoids, allyl sulfides and polyphenols] make eating well sound complicated.


Don’t be fooled. It sounds more complicated than it really is if you’re eating a balanced diet. Phytonutrients are found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans and grains.


Best sources of phytonutrients


The nutrients found in these types of food help keep your free radical levels in check and prevent damage to your cells. Preventing damage helps keep you healthy.


1/ Beta-Carotene:

Food source: Found in pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, winter squash, cantaloupe, apricots, spinach, collard greens, kale and broccoli.

Health benefit: Immune System, vision, skin health and bone health


2/ Lycopene:

Food source: Found in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, red peppers, watermelon, tomato products

Health benefit: Prostate cancer and heart health


3/ Lutein: 

Food Source: Found in collard greens, kale, spinach, broccoli, brussels, sprouts, lettuce and artichokes.

Health benefit: Eye health, cancer and heart health


4/ Resveratrol: 

Food Source: Found in red wine, peanuts and grapes

Health benefit: Heart health, cancer, lung health and inflammation


5/ Anthocyanidins: 

Food Source: Found in blue berries, black berries, plums, cranberries, raspberries, red onion, red potatoes, red radishes and strawberries

Health benefit: Blood vessel health


6/ Isoflavones: 

Food Source: Found in soybeans

Health benefit: menopause, breast cancer, joint inflammation and lower cholesterol



For more food recommendations



If you need to increase a specific vitamin or mineral in your diet, get a free list of the best sources. The USDA makes the best food sources searchable by nutrient.



Can you get phytonutrients from supplements?


The studies on antioxidant supplements is fuzzy. Why? It is hard for scientists to control biases that affect the results. That’s why there is no definitive answer on the value of supplements.

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