The Essence of Phytochemicals

Different plants naturally produce phytochemicals. Some of them are responsible for coloring flowers, berries and leaves, and the others present plants with their distinctive aromas. These smells are attractive for insects that pollinate the plants or help spread the seeds.

Phytochemicals in the Modern World

Phytochemicals possess a biological power, so they can influence our body and affect our health while we are eating fruits, vegetables and berries.

According to recent researches, there are phytochemicals that are useful in preventing cancer and slowing down the process of its development. In addition, they may reduce inflammation and improve hormonal balance in our body.

However, the majority of tests were made on lab animals or on tissues and cells. To make a scientific support that phytochemicals have health benefits, one has to get good results from the researches in humans. Such tests need years to show the results, and the other problem is that phytochemicals do not always measure up.

Phytochemicals that are contained in dietary supplements are usually extracted from plants and processed. Most of them are safe; however, their dosages and effectiveness are not regulated. To avoid the risk of side effects, you need to consult your physician before taking such supplements and drugs, especially if you have any health issues.

Dietary Benefits

According to different sources, some phytochemicals contained in plants belong to nutrients. However, they are not essential like minerals and vitamins, and doctors do not prescribe them traditionally to improve any health conditions with a special diet.

The best sources of natural phytochemicals are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds, and legumes. It is a well-known fact that a plant-based diet is beneficial for human health, but research does not show that positive results are brought by phytochemicals specifically.

More than likely that nutrients and fiber provide the benefit. In addition, people who prefer plant-based foods tend to do sports and keep a healthy weight.

Groups of Phytochemicals

There are several types of phytochemicals according on their chemistry:

• Carotenoids include lutein, carotene, alpha-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. These are yellow, red, and orange pigments found in plants. All of them convert into vitamin A when absorbed in the stomach.

• Flavonoids include flavonols (in chocolate, tea, berries, and apples), anthocyanidins (in blue, red, purple pigments of grapes and berries), flavonones (in citruses), flavones (in hot peppers), isoflavones (in legumes and soy). These phytochemicals may reduce inflammation and prevent cancer.

• Resveratrol is found in peanuts and grapes. It possesses numerous biological activities that can be used in preventing and treating of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative illnesses.

• Phytosterols help lower cholesterol levels.

• Lignans are contained in whole grains and seeds.

• Indole-3-carboninol is found in cruciferous veggies.

• Chlorophyll is contained in all green plants.

• Curcumin is found in turmeric.

Some scientists consider fiber to be a phytochemical, too, as only plants contain it. However, the others classify it as a carbohydrate. Dietary beneficial fibers include beta-glucan, cellulose, pectin, inulin, gum, and oligofructose.

Everybody knows that eating a diet rich in fiber helps keep the cholesterol levels within normal limits, and improve work of digestive system. High in fiber meals may slow down the blood sugar rises that occur after eating a large amount of starch or sugar.

Top 10 Vitamin B Stashes Found in Nature

Foliates are incredibly important for your wellbeing and act as a building material for the most fundamental part of our organism – DNA. Without enough vitamin B, the very cell reproduction system can be jeopardized and start malfunctioning. The lack of this crucial micronutrient is especially noticeable in the earliest moments of one’s life. Many forms of blood anemia and other significant disorders are caused by the lack of this essential microelement. Pregnant women should pay special attention to getting as much of this stuff as possible.

How can we get enough Vitamin B in our daily lives? Living a stressful urban life can be very demanding and we are certainly not exposed to natural sources of nutrients in a city. However, you can try to modernize your ration and add more foliate rich foods in your diet to make yourself more resilient against problems related to the lack of them.

In order to satisfy your daily need of foliate which is close to 400 mg per day, you will need to consume some of staple foods like cereal, enriched flour, pure orange juices, and some other products that we use every day. This may not be enough and to stay relevant in the everlasting race for health, you will need to add more foliate rich foods to your table.

#1. Chicken Liver

Liver is an organ with tissues that are rich with all sorts of micronutrients and vitamins B and A are some of the most important ones. Eating a serving of chicken liver will yield you 50 calories, more than enough healthy protein and fats as well as over 40% of your daily norm of Vitamin B.

#2. Sunflower Seeds

A great alternative to chocolate and cookies, sunflower seeds are tasty after brief toasting and pack a whole lot of vital microelements very important for one’s survival. Only 15 grams of this amazing product will give you about 5% of daily intake of foliates and a lot of vitamin E.

#3. Asparagus

Praised by chefs all over the world for its versatility and a great combination of color and flavor, asparagus is a staple food in many cuisines and can be used in all sorts of dishes. A very good thing is that this plant is not only incredibly taste but also very useful and bring you a lot of good stuff. A serving of asparagus gives you more than 60% of your daily foliate consumption goal.

#4. Chickpeas

This product is so frequently used in cuisines of Middle Eastern countries that we simply cannot imagine a dish from that part of the world that does not feature chickpeas. If you like hummus, you like chickpeas. This is one of the best sources of vitamin B and bring you over 300 calories and up to 40% of daily foliate needs in one serving.

#5. Turnips

Especially the green part. This is an ever giving vein of fiber and calcium as well as incredibly important vitamin C and magnesium. This versatile package of micronutrients comes with only 30 calories per serving and allows you to forget about your fatty sides while getting healthier.

#6. Spinach

Another green champion of any kitchen, spinach is a great source of multiple essential microelements. There was a reason why Popeye sailor loved canned spinach, it is a can packed with power. Potassium, calcium, a myriad of vitamins, and lots of fiber – this combination is a perfect way to get better. At the same time, you will get only 7 calories per serving while consuming over 15% of your daily need for vitamin B.

#7. Peanuts

Love peanut butter? Good news for you. Cut sugar, purchase sugar-free peanut butter, and eat it every single day. This sort of nuts gives you a great amount of micronutrients and bring you about 10% of daily norm of foliates in a single serving (which is about an ounce).

#8. Brussels sprouts

If you are thinking about your body as a temple and want to keep it a slim and in shape, consuming healthy dietary fiber is generally a good idea that makes you more resilient. With 25% of your daily goal for Vitamin B being conserved in a single cup of Brussels sprouts, you will avoid getting fat since this serving is only 55 calories!

#9. Leafy greens

Eating lots of herbs is a good way of getting enough nutrients. Eat a lot of aromatic herbs and leafy greens. All of them are rich with metals, vitamins, and bring you enough foliates.

#10. Black-Eyed Peas

This is a great source of protein, healthy fat, and fiber. At the same time, it is a vitamin B spring that keeps delivering hefty amounts of vital microelements. Over 200 calories per serving and about 60% of your daily foliate norm is covered!

The List of Healthy Foods That Are High in Vitamin C

Vitamin C is absolutely indispensable for your body, it increases elasticity in arteries and keeps your blood vessels healthy. And this is not a full list of its wonderful properties: vitamin C increases resistance to toxins, heavy metals and radiation, prevents the accumulation of harmful metabolic products in the body. Finally, vitamin C is needed for the normal development of the muscular and endocrine system, the normalization of blood coagulability and wound healing. Vitamin C boosts immune system.

A man needs 75-90 milligrams of vitamin C per day to be healthy. To get a daily dose of vitamin C, you need to eat six servings of fresh vegetables and fruits a day. It is also additionally possible to consume vitamin C in the form of multivitamin complexes, as well as products enriched with vitamins. That is why we would like to present the list of 10 foods that are high in vitamin C which you can add to your daily menu.

1. Oranges and Orange Juice

Orange is a popular and favorite citrus fruit, both among children and adults. This fruit has positive effects on the human body. This product is a storehouse of vitamins A, B, and C. Orange quenches thirst, and its constituent minerals help in early healing of wounds, abscesses and cuts. You need only 1 glass of orange juice per day, as it contains 124 mg of vitamin C. Only 150 gram of the orange will give you about 80 mg of the vitamin.

2. Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a useful citrus fruit, containing microelements, vitamins and other useful substances that help the body to fight high cholesterol, cardiovascular and oncological diseases. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice also have antibacterial, antioxidant properties. One-half of this fruit has 45 milligrams of vitamin C.

3. Green Peppers

Green peppers have high concentrations of vitamins C, F, K. This product is low in calories and can be used both raw and cooked. The daily dose of green peppers is 200 g, and it contains about 95 mg of vitamin C. Peppers in salads are perfectly combined with olive oil, apple or balsamic vinegar and a pinch of sugar, chopped with parsley.

4. Red Sweet Peppers

Red sweet pepper is tasty and healthy vegetable that you can buy and eat all year round. Useful properties of the pepper help to maintain health, as well as to prevent and cope with many diseases. It strengthens the body, boosts the immunity, protects from colds. This product is rich in vitamins A, E, B and also C.

5. Strawberries

A glass of strawberry is a wonderful source of folic acid, vitamin PP, vitamin C (87.4 milligrams per serving). It also improves the condition of the circulatory system. One more unexpected property of strawberries is that it helps whiten teeth naturally. Moreover, this is very tasty and useful dessert.

 6. Broccoli

Broccoli is the perfect vegetable for healthy nutrition. It has a lot of dietary fiber, low in calories (only 30 calories per serving), 132 milligrams of vitamin C. In addition, broccoli has anti-carcinogenic properties.

7. Kiwifruit 

A couple of medium-sized kiwifruits has 137.2 milligrams of vitamin C, this is a considerable amount for fruit which is not related to citrus. Another reason why you should eat kiwi, is the high content of potassium and copper, valuable minerals that support the work of the cardiovascular system.

8. Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are very valuable vegetables. They are rich in anticarcinogenic substances, phytonutrients and fiber, and the vitamin C (78.4 milligrams per serving). Brussels sprouts are usually served as a side dish.

9. Cauliflower

A one-hundred-gram portion of cauliflower, supplies 127.7 milligrams of vitamin C, as well as 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein. You can fry, steam, boil and mash it.

10. Pineapples

Pineapple is a sweet and delicious supplier of vitamin C. It is an indispensable source of nutrients for the human body. Pineapple is rich in biologically active substances which stimulate digestion, increase the enzymatic activity of gastric juice. Moreover, this product is very low in calories (about 80 calories per cup).