“The Secret of Longevity” That’s how Dr. Joel Fuhrman described them in his book, “The End of Dieting: How to Live for Life.“
Fuhrman writes they are “essential for normal immune function and disease resistance.” What are these seemingly superhuman elements Fuhrman is referring to? They are called “phytochemicals.”
Phytochemicals are plant compounds that are not already classified as vitamins or minerals. And while they are essential to plants such as fruits and vegetables, they are not essential to the human body to sustain life. However, when you eat a plant that contains them, those same self-protection characteristics are passed on to you.
Here are Six of the Better Known Phytochemicals
- Beta-Carotene – Great for bone, skin and vision health. Also protects the immune system.
Common Food sources: pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, winter squash, cantaloupe, apricots, spinach, collard greens, kale, broccoli.
- Isoflavones – Reducing your cholesterol level, helping with inflammation, menopause. Good for bone and joint health. And reducing cancer especially breast cancer.
Common Food sources: soybeans, chick peas, alfalfa, peanuts, green beans.
- Lycopene – Good for heart health. Protects against cancer especially prostate cancer.
Common Food sources: tomatoes, pink grapefruit, red peppers, watermelon, papaya, guava, autumn olive.
- Anthocyanidins – Excellent for blood vessel health.
Food sources: blueberries, blackberries, plums, cranberries, raspberries, red onions, red potatoes, red radishes, strawberries, eggplant.
- Lutein – Heart and Eye Health. Protects against cancers.
Common Food sources: collard greens, kale, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lettuces, artichokes, carrots, zucchini.
- Resveratrol – Protects against cancer and inflammation. Good for lung and heart health.
Common Food sources:red wine, peanuts, grapes.
There are thousands of studies that strongly suggest that phytochemicals help our bodies fight cancer, cardiovascular disease, improve brain function, control inflammation and so on.
Hardly a day goes by when some new study doesn’t proclaim the health-given properties of fruits, vegetables, and beans. Unprocessed plant foods contain thousands of compounds, most of which have not yet been discovered, that are essential for maintaining health and maximizing genetic potential.
Bottom line is if you want to live healthier and longer…
Eat your beans, fruits and vegetables (even the ones whose taste is not 100% appealing to you – chances are those are the ones that will benefit you the most.)☺
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