Why are phytonutrients important and where can we find them?

phytonutrients in real foodDid you know there are more than 25,000 known phytonutrients? Plant foods contain thousands of natural chemicals: these are called phytonutrients.

In addition to being healthy, whole organic produce is naturally sweet and delicious. These phytonutrients deliver to your body a huge healing benefit that only whole food can provide.

While phytonutrients aren’t essential for keeping you alive, unlike the vitamins and minerals that plant foods contain, they can prevent disease and keep your body work properly. Where can you find them? Whole foods grown in healthy places are the best place to start. 

Many Americans rarely eat real food. They get their fruit and vegetable flavors from human chemists at food manufacturing facilities instead of eating organic produce. To prevent illness or reverse chronic conditions like high cholesterol, prediabetes, and many cancers, we can all turn to phytonutrients for support.

“Phyto” refers to the Greek word for plant. These chemicals help protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs, and other threats.

Did you know that carotenoids, a type of phytonutrient, act as antioxidants in the body? This means they tackle harmful free radicals that damage tissues. The types of carotenoids that may have other health benefits include Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. Your body can convert all of these to vitamin A. This vitamin helps keep your immune system working properly, and it’s needed for eye health. Yellow and orange foods like pumpkins and carrots are good sources of alpha- and beta-carotene.

Here is my list of Life-Changing Foods I eat every week!

  • Broccoli
  • Green Tea
  • Grapefruit
  • Pomegranate
  • Soybeans
  • Blue and Red Fruits
  • Kidney, white, pinto beans
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Mushrooms
  • Ginger
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbages
  • Raw Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Turmeric

You can find a wide variety of tasty recipes for whole food eating!

What kind of foods should you focus on if robust health and energy is your goal?

Whenever possible, focus on the highest quality foods you can afford. Local and organic foods are ideal, but do what you can and eat conventional whole foods over anything that is sold with a label or advertised on television.

  1. Foods that are whole, eaten raw or cooked at home, instead of being manufactured, are the most energy-producing foods. The foods that won’t spoil when left on your pantry shelf for weeks or months on end are not foods that are beneficial to you.
  2. Grains, vegetables, and beans. These are foods that have not been heavily processed so they contain a full array of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients that our bodies recognize can absorb and utilize. Eating mostly these kinds of foods will allow your body to heal disease and illness over time.
  3. Quality meat protein sources. I always look for quality, organic, grass-fed and humanely raised protein.
  4. Superfoods. These have very high levels of phytonutrients and may even have healing properties that go above and beyond man-made drugs. Leafy greens, as well as many fruits, vegetables, nuts, roots, and seeds, are considered superfoods. I am a new fan of sea plants, such as green algae and seaweed, as powerful sources of nutrition and energy. I like to use these greens in powder form in my smoothies.