The Power Of Plants (Phytonutrients) & Their Many Benefits
All plants have a built in natural defense mechanisms designed to protect them from damage caused by ultraviolet radiation while they grow as well as pests, toxins and pollutions. These naturally occurring phytonutrients bind free radicals helping to ensure the plant cell membranes and DNA remain intact.
Fortunately, phytonutrients simultaneously develop to shield the plant from such damage can also do the same for us-when we consume their naturally occurring phytonutrients. As a bonus-it’s what gives most fruits/vegetables their color, taste and smell. Why is this important for your health? You too are exposed to ultraviolet radiation, pests (viruses/bacteria/fungi) and various environmental toxins just like plants-we need phytonutrients to protect us too.
Currently there are more than 25,000 identified unique phytonutrients, with new ones being discovered nearly almost every month! Just know once thing-they come exclusively from plants – so you can increase your phytonutrients simply by eating a diet that consisted mostly of plants! On average one plant species (blueberries for example) contains tens of thousands of different phytonutrients that can act as antioxidants.
Would it comes as a shock to you if I told you more than 50% of medications prescribed today are based on Phytonutrients? This should help you see the massive medicinal properties plants can offer assisting everything from pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and even cancer.
Phytonutrients are also found in various herbs, which when added to plant consultation boost the effectiveness of phytonutrients. One way to know your consulting foods high in phytonutrients is a physiological response -a color change in our urine from eating beets or strong odor in the urine when eating asparagus. If you haven’t experienced this in a while – it’s time to add more plants to your plate!
Foods Highest In Phytonutrients: Kale, Spinach, Swiss chard, Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Collard Greens, Leeks, Green/Yellow/Red Bell-peppers, Mango, Bok Choy, Flaxseeds, Broccoli, Beets, Gooseberries, Peppermint, Cloves, Pomegranate, Apples, Blackberries, Cranberries, Dandelion, Dragons Fruit, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Chia/Flax Seeds & Dark Chocolate.
Health Benefits Of Phytonutrients –
Reduce Blood Pressure and Increase Vessel Dilation – The New England Journal Of Medicine recently published a study showing a diet rich in phytonutrients
from fruits and vegetables, in conjunction with reduced corn fed saturated fat can substantially lower blood pressure. The authors concluded that such a 9diet provided a noteworthy nutritional approach to preventing and even treating hypertension.
Improved Vision – Its long been known that anthocyanin, a powerful phytonutrient found in blueberries, strawberries and red wine can help to improve vision over time. In fact, the National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that visual acuity (sharpness/clarity) can be significantly improved as well as enhancement of night vision or overall vision has is well documented in research. The use of black currants, for example, has resulted in significantly improved night vision in humans. Additionally similar benefits were gained after using bilberry fruit extracts supplementally.
Decrease Inflammation – Proanthocyanins and flavan-3-ols are unique phytochemicals that can help reduce inflammation (a primary cause of chronic disease) and are found many fruits. Resveratrol is yet another phytonutrient shown in studies to help help fight cancer, diabetes, protect against Alzheimer’s and provide energy support. These plant-based nutrients can help to lower inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cancer. Cruciferous vegetables are not only rich in fiber but contain specific anti-cancerous nutrient known as isothiocyanates-found mostly in Cauliflower, Broccoli and Brussels.
Decrease LDL Cholesterol – Sulfides and thiols are a subset of phytonutrients that can help decrease the LDL cholesterol, which is important since it provides the proper functioning of cells, nerves and hormones—as LDL cholesterol can build up in the arteries when inflammation levels are high in the body. Sulfides and thiols can be found in aromatic plants such as onions, leeks, garlic and olives.
Prevent Cell Damage – One of the most researched groups of phytochemicals are terpenes, found most CBD oils, citrus peels and carotenoid based foods (carrot, grapefruits, tomato, squash, pumpkin & sweet potato. Terpenes are known to have medicinal properties that include anticancer, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antihyperglycemic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-parasitic properties.