In this article I’d like to take a second to talk about plant-based foods. In particular, I’d like to talk about a specific form of plant-based nutrient that come from plant-base known as “phytonutrients.”
As many of my younger patients know, phytonutrient is the name of one of the marvel superheroes from the new Marvel Avengers movie.
Ok, that was a bad joke. Forgive me, I’m tired with a toddler who doesn’t sleep through the night.
Anyways, I’ve referenced phytonutrients plenty before, but I don’t think many people understand what they are.
That’s not really surprising. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything you’re supposed to know about good health. Especially when it comes to healthy foods like fruits and vegetables.
You know they’re healthy...but sometimes it’s hard to remember why.
Today I’m going to dive right in and give you details about phytonutrients, a unique class of health-boosting compounds in plant-based foods.
Why PhytoNutrients Make You More Healthy
When it comes to health essentials, fruits and vegetables carry a number of nutrients we can’t live without.
These include vitamins, minerals, proteins, and sometimes fat.
What’s interesting is many fruits and vegetables also contain phytonutrients, a unique class of nutrients that are remarkable at boosting your overall health.
There are a number of ways as a matter of fact.
Here are 3 of the most powerful:
1 - They protect your cells with high antioxidant activity: Many phytonutrients fight free radicals (known to produce serious injury to your cells) by way of their antioxidant activity.
If you know the value of antioxidants, then you’ll see the value of phytonutrients.
2- They help boost immune health: Phytonutrients are known to boost your immune system. Some of them help keep bacterial infections at bay. Another class of phytonutrients, called bioflavonoids, help protect your body’s immune system by guarding your cells from environmental pollutants.
3 - They may help reduce inflammation: Inflammation is not necessarily a bad thing. Often times, inflammation in your body is your body’s way of mobilizing essential healing agents to damaged parts of your body.
And despite what you may have heard, inflammation is actually important for good health.
However, suffering an extended period of inflammation is not healthy (many health concerns I deal with are directly linked to inflammation), and phytonutrients have been shown to help relieve inflammation.
So, What Are the Best Sources Of Phytonutrients?
If you want to get phytonutrients, I suggest you check out the Avenger’s movie. Wait…bad joke again.
In reality, all you need to do is shop the produce aisle and pick up various herbs and spices.
That’s because all phytonutrients are plant-based. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, different colors represent different phytonutrient activity.
Red, orange, and yellow peppers all contain phytonutrients called carotenoids. And each color represents a different kind of carotenoid with a distinct function.
There’s no way I could even begin to cover the various phytonutrients found in foods and tell you what they do. Not only because there are hundreds, if not thousands of different phytonutrient rich plant-based foods out there.
But many of these foods contain multiple phytonutrients.
So the list would be quite long.
That being said, eat your fruits and veggies and you’re going to do your body and your health a favor.
My Personal Recommendations For Phytonutrients
If you’re a patient of mine, or read my emails, you might still be wondering what my personal recommendations are for phytonutrient intake.
While I do my very best to get as many of these nutritive compounds as I can from my diet, everyday I take a custom blend of phytonutrients to help shield myself from a dangerous world.
Everything you see in the list below is something I’ve spent a painstaking amount of time researching.
And in my opinion, they’re among the best sources of health-boosting phytonutrients you could take.
|Green Tea Extract: Shown to help protect the brain and heart, known to improve liver function, can help regulate metabolism, can improve skin tone and more.|
|Milk Thistle Extract: A wonderful tonic that can help support natural detoxification processes.|
|Turmeric Root: Turmeric is phytonutrient royalty. It’s been shown to improve heart health, fight inflammation, support the immune system, may improve memory (and cognition) and much more.|
|Quercetin: Comes from the skin of many fruits (where most phytonutrients live). I’ve written about it before, but it helps to fight inflammation better than most anything on the planet.|
|Bromelain: Typically derived from pineapple, bromelain does a few things. One of the main reasons to take it is because it fights inflammation. It’s also great at helping your body digest food so you can absorb nutrients better.|
|Rosemary: Not only is it a tasty herb, rosemary is one of the most powerful herbs around. It’s antiseptic (fights bacteria), can boost immune health, helps improve heart health, aids digestion and more!|
|Grape Seed Extract: Most people see grape seed extract in ingredients, but don’t know what it does. The reason I take it is because it’s great for heart health, it has a therapeutic effect on the immune system, improves brain function and protects your cells from oxidative stress.|
|Gingko Biloba: May improve cognition, helps to relieve symptoms of PMS, may help to restore vision, and can relieve headaches.|
|Ginger Root: Another royal plant. Ginger helps with inflammation, gut health, brain health, boosts immunity, and helps ease joint pain.|
|Hawthorn Extract: “Hawthorn berry is best known for its helpful toning effects on the heart. As a “cardiotonic herb,” hawthorn has shown itself to be impressively helpful for all kinds of serious heart concerns.”|
|Cranberry Powder: Everyone knows about cranberry and UTIs. And there is some evidence it helps to relieve UTIs. But it also can improve brain function, help fight inflammation, increase cardiovascular function and fight off oxidative stress|
|Bilberry Extract: This extract is a huge benefactor for the body’s natural response against inflammation and can help fight off of free radicals. It also has been shown to increase blood sugar control as well as helping to protect heart health.|
If you believe like I do, that the power of phytonutrients is a great way to improve health (let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food as Hippocrates said) then click on this link (or the image below) to get my custom formula of Plantoxidants.