This Article is About
omega 3 oils
beta carotene
whole grains
sesame seeds
genetic activity
mediterranean diet
cholesterol levels
fruit and vegetables
Phytochemicals And Where To Find Them
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More than 600 of these have been identified so far. They are the bright yellow, orange and red pigments in carrot, apricots, tomatoes, strawberries, oranges and many other colourful foods including the dark green leafy ones, where the green chlorophyll masks the yellow colour. Carotenoids are powerful antioxidants and also stimulates the immune system and help prevent cancer by regulating genetic activity. Beta-carotene is the best known because it is the best precursor of vitamin A.

Onions contain a variety of phytochemicals. They owe their pungent flavours to sulpur containing compounds that help to prevent cancer by stimulating DNA repair. They also contain quercetin, a flavonoid with anti-bacteria, anti-viral and anti-allergic properties.

Garlic, with its bouquet of phytochemicals, helps reduce cholesterol levels, improves blood flow, boosts the immune system and reduces cancer risk. Allicin, the substance that gives garlic its pungent taste and smell, has powerful antibiotic properties too.

Oranges are loaded with phytochemicals. Nearly two hundred have been studied so far. To protect against cancer, there are 60 flavonoids and 40 liminoids blus the limonene that gives the distinctive tangy taste to the peel. There are also 20 carotenoids to stimulate the immune system and protect against ageing.

Whole grains are also associated with reduced cancer risk, partly thanks to their phytochemical content, 90% which is in the bran and germ and is therefore missing from white flour.

Red grape skin and other red fruit and vegetables contain resveratrol, another protective substance which has a special action against oestrogen-dependant and other cancers and against heart disease. Many think this is an important factor in the benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

Flaxseeds and sesame seeds are rich in lignans, which also act against oestrogen and help to prevent breast and prostate cancer. They are also rich in Omega 3 oils.

Rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano and other kitchen herbs owe their flavors to terpenoids which are strong antioxidants and also inhibit cholesterol production and have cancer-preventing properties.

Tomatoes contain the health giving red pigment lycopene that has been particularly associated with lowering prostate cancer risk. Interestingly, it is even more available from cooked tomatoes than from raw ones and its more easily absorbed if there is oil present, preferably olive oil, which contributes its own phenolic phytochemicals to the war on heart disease and cancer. Lycopene is also present in strawberries and many other red fruits and berries.

Phytochemicals are often concentrated in the outer parts of plants like the bran of wheat and the skin of apples which is another reason for eating foods in whole and natural taste. This does not mean eating everything raw. The full complement of phytochemicals may not be released until the cell walls are broken down by cooking, blending or chewing extremely well.

To maximize your intake of phytochemicals, from day to day eat a wide variety of different coloured plant foods, in as simple, whole and natural a state as possible; some like grains always cooked, vegetable, some cooked and some raw.

The World Cancer Research Fund include tomatoes, pepper, onions, garlic, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, spinach, pumpkinseeds, strawberries, mangos, kiwi fruit, oranges, Brazil nuts and whole wheat bread in their list of important anti-cancer foods.

Street Talk

Hi Martha, You could help more people if put up a profile and put images on your articles.

  about 9 years ago
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