Characteristics of phytochemicals
What are phytochemicals? The term phytochemical is formed by the Greek prefix fitos, which is Greek for “plant” and the word chemical, so it literally means something like “The chemical products in plants“.
In reality, the meaning is not as broad, as the plants have plenty of chemicals. Specifically, Phytochemicals are chemical compounds developed by plants whose importance to health is fundamental.
These compounds are different from minerals, vitamins, fats, or carbohydrates. They have been produced by the plants to be used for their own benefit. (It is thought that the main function of these compounds would be to protect the plant from the world around.)
However, when people ingest them, they act in our body act as authentic “natural medicine”.
Properties of phytochemicals
Many of these products act as “natural elixir of youth” so that they help keep us younger for longer, delaying aging, by preventing the degradation of our cells. For example, it has been demonstrated that the ingestion of many fruits and dark green leafy vegetables prevents the occurrence of lung cancers.
Phytochemicals in food
We have seen that the intake of plants of the cabbage family (cruciferous vegetables) which include cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc., help prevent colon cancer. It is known that people who eat plenty of foods rich in flavonoids are 30% less likely to suffer some type of cancer.
It has been shown that flavonoids neutralize the negative influence of free radicals as well as they prevent the emergence of many cancers, and have a very positive effect against cardiovascular diseases.
Where are phytochemicals?
A diet rich in natural food is the most recommended for maintaining good health. Since many vegetables have components of this type, the advice is a very varied diet that provides the widest range of phytochemicals.
More information about chemical components in plants.