From Allicin to Zeaxanthin: The Phytonutrient Superstars
There are tens of thousands of phytonutrients within an as-yet-undetermined number of classes and subclasses. Here is a tour of some of the most prominent ones — and a glimpse at how they support our well-being.
|Phytonutrients:||Found in:||Great for:|
|Allicin||Garlic, onions, jicama||Eliminating toxins from the body|
|Capsaicin||Cayenne peppers, red peppers||Preventing toxic molecules from invading cells; reducing inflammation|
|Carotenoids||Carrots, tomatoes, cantaloupe, arugula, spinach, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, turnip greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin, red peppers||Removing damaging free radicals from the cells, slowing macular degeneration, preventing cataracts, repairing DNA and blocking carcinogens from entering cells|
|Catechins||Green and black teas||Inhibiting the activation of carcinogens|
|Ellagic Acid||Grapes, strawberries, blackberries, cranberries, walnuts||Preventing cancer|
|Genistein||Tofu, soymilk, soybeans||Inhibiting the formation of the blood vessels that help tumors grow|
|Indoles and Isothiscyanates||Collard greens, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage||Blocking carcinogens and interfering with the action of a precancerous form of estrogen|
|Isoflavones||Kudzu, soybeans, peas, peanuts, legumes||Modulating estrogen levels; preventing breast, uterine and prostate cancers; and reducing the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis|
|Lignans||Seeds and grains, especially flaxseed||Inhibiting excessive estrogen action, and possibly reducing breast, colon and ovarian cancer|
|Limonoids||Citrus fruit peels||Clearing congestive mucus from the lungs, detoxifying enzymes in the liver, and supporting detoxification of hormones and other substances that cause cellular decay|
|Lycopene||Tomatoes||Fighting heart disease and prostate cancer, plus reducing the risk of stomach, lunh and prostate cancers|
|Phenols||Black and red berries, celery, cabbage, grapes, eggplant, peaches, nectarines||Preventing cancer, blocking specific enzymes that cause autoimmune diseases, protecting against heart attacks and strokes, preventing platelets in the blood from clumping, reversing nerve-cell aging, and destroying hepatoxins, which damage the liver|
|Phytosterols||Pumpkin, rice, soybeans, yams, all green and yellow vegetables||Blocking “bad” cholesterol uptake, reducing inflammation and blocking the growth of tumors|
|Polyphenols||Buckwheat, wheat germ||Restoring a lagging immune system|
|Saponins||Alfalfa, legumes||Lowering cholesterol and inhibiting the growth of cancer cells by interfering with their DNA|
|Zeaxanthin||Kale, daikon, collard greens, green sorrel, arugula||Enhancing immune function and preventing several types of cancer|
Alyssa Ford Alyssa Ford is a Minneapolis-based writer and editor.
I add these in all my meals as much as possible. I like this chart and thought you would like it to. We know exactly how these foods benefit us and our families.
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