Phytochemicals’ Lead To Good Health

What are phytochemicals?
Phytochemicals, also known as phytonutrients, are commonly found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, and are classified according to their chemical structures and functional properties. There are various terms to describe phytochemicals, such as, flavonoids, flavonols, proanthocyanidins, procyanidins.
Cardiovascular Disease: Soy, cocoa, and black and green teas have been studied extensively, and the consumption of each one is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. The consumption of whole grains rich with phytochemicals also lower blood pressure, which aids in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Cancer: The consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as dietary patterns such as the Mediterranean diet that emphasize these foods, have been associated with a reduced risk of several types of cancer, including breast, lung, and colon.
Type 2 Diabetes: Research suggest that phytochemical rich foods may decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes, most likely by reducing inflammation and improving insulin sensitivity, and indirectly by preventing weight gain, the most important risk factor of the disease. Studies have shown that the polyphenols in tea and cocoa also may contribute to improved insulin sensitivity and lower type 2 diabetes.
Source: Todays Dietitian, Vol. 15 No. 9, September 2013