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What are Phytochemicals

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0


One of the latest trends in the health world is phytochemicals. However, little people seem to know what this exactly entails. The answer is: Phytochemicals are non-nutritive plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventive properties.  They are not mandatory for humans to consume.  However, it is proven that these chemicals protect plants as well as the humans eating them.


There are literally thousands of different phytochemicals. Not all of them do the same thing. Some of them help in preventing cancer, others are anti-bacterial. The following categories exist:

1. Hormones.

This specific category is also known as Isoflavones.  These phytochemicals are mainly found in soy. They imitate estrogens and are therefore especially healthy for women. For men, I would not recommend to eat much soy, since you can develop, although small, breasts.

2. Antioxidant.

This is the biggest category of phytochemicals. They help preventing cancer. The following foods are rich in these phytochemicals: Tea, garlic, grapefruit and leeks.

3. Enzymes

These are found in cabbages. They reduce the chance of breast cancer. It is highly recommended for women to consume enzymes on a daily basis.

4. Anti-bacterial properties

Allicin which is contained in garlic contains anti-bacterial properties.

 Which foods do I have to eat?

Many people don’t know which plants they should eat in order to get their daily dose of phytochemicals. The following list of plants contains only those plants that have the highest amount of phytochemicals of all four categories:

  • Black Raspberry
  • Blackberry
  • Blackcurrant
  • Blueberry
  • Cranberry
  • Grape
  • Guarana
  • Hawthorn
  • Rooibos
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Schizandra

How to implement phytochemicals

A recommended intake of phytochemicals does not exist today. Phytochemical rich foods are rarely found in the supermarket. Therefore, it is recommended to go to the local farmers’ market for the freshest products. The fresher the plants and vegetables, the more phytochemicals they will contain.

However, beans will contain phytochemicals nonetheless, no matter how long you preserve them. Beans offer not as much phytochemicals as plants, but beans are still better than packaged vegetables from the supermarket.

Future of phytochemicals

Through bioengineering, new plants will be developed that will contain even higher doses of phytochemicals. This would make it even easier for humans to consume enough phytochemicals on a daily basis.


Phytochemicals are no hype. They are actually one of the healthiest components of vegetables, plants and beans. They can help in preventing cancer, fight bacteria and control estrogen. Therefore it is recommended to consume phytochemical rich food like garlic and grapefruits on a daily basis. However, be sure that the vegetables and plants you eat are as fresh as possible, since the longer you preserve them, the less phytochemicals they will contain. Finally, it is expected that in the future, it will be much easier to consume enough phytochemicals due to bioengineering.



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