Phytonutrients (phytochemicals) are plant compounds that have specific health benefits and have a similar role to antioxidant nutrients. Some classifications of Phytochemicals include: carotenoids, flavonoids and isoflavones.
You find Phytonutrients in fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, pulses and soya products. A lot of the phytonutrients are contained in or near the skin of the fruit, veg, grains etc… This is why it is good to not peel your fresh foods and keep the skin on if possible as well as the skins being a good source of fibre.
To get a good supply of phytochemicals it is really important to eat a broad and colourful range of fruit & veg each day, at least your 5 a day, preferably more. Each colour of your fruit &veg will provide a different phytonutrient with a different health giving property. Add grains, beans, pulses& soya products to your diet and you’ll gain even more health benefits!
To keep your phytonutrients packing a punch store them in a dark place (fridge is ideal,remember the nutrient value of fruit & veg starts to deteriorate as soon as the food leaves the plant). Prepare fruit & veg immediately before use and cook them for as short a time as possible in as little water as possible, steaming & stir frying are the best methods of cooking to retain the nutritive value of vegetables.
Phytonutrientsare thought to play an important role in the following processes:
· Fighting Cancer
· Helping combat the effect of Free Radicals
· Lowering Cholesterol and reducing the risk of Coronary Heart Disease
· Supporting & Boosting the Immune System
· Increasing the number of Gut Bacteria
· Protecting against harmful Bacteria& Viruses
In short Phytonutrients are Pretty Amazing so what’s stopping you? Get your fruit & veg portions in today and be a happy healthy you each and every day!!
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