Phytonutrients Friend Of The Antioxidant Enemy Of The Free Radical Phytonutrients and phytochemicals are nutrients and chemicals found in plants. They are Mother Nature’s way of helping her plants survive attacks from bugs. For example, powerful sulfur compounds in onions and garlic repel bugs, keeping the plant healthy and edible. Other natural compounds protect plants from bacterial and viral attacks. We are all keenly aware that nature is extremely efficient when it comes to recycling. So it is not surprising that when we eat these plants fortified with phytonutrients and phytochemicals, they help us fight off our natural enemies like free radicals and the dreaded virus.
Phytonutrients are comprised of numerous health activists. The major activists are the antioxidants, which are the number one enemies of the free radicals, which just happens to be our number one enemy also. And as the old saying goes, “The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend”.
Our bodies are under continuous attack by free radicals which are oxygen molecules that, due to every day wear and tear, have lost an electron. As they scan the body trying to regain that missing electron, they cause cellular damage wherever they go. And if cellular damage continues, disease will inevitably find its way in. Almost every problem the body experiences, including the aging process, is caused by the proliferation of free radicals.
So you see phytonutrients present a formidable defense against the attacks on our bodies. And there is only one way we can take advantage of their remarkable power. And that is by either consuming them in our diet or by consuming them in the form of supplements.
Carotenoids are the phytonutrients that contribute to the bright colors of some of our most healthy fruits and vegetables. They not only contribute to their vibrant colors but they are also a sign of the presence of antioxidants. Carotenoids are potent antioxidants that specialize in fighting heart disease and certain cancers.
There has been documented proof that those who eat sufficient amounts of foods with Beta Carotene have significantly lower levels of cancer and heart disease. Foods containing Beta Carotene are green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, carrots and other orange vegetables, tomatoes, and sea vegetables. The consumption of these vegetables also plays a significant role in the prevention of cancer. These same Carotenoids and other phytonutrients can also reduce the risk of recurring cancer.
Flavonoids, another significant member of the phytonutrient family can be found in abundant quantities of apples, grapes, broccoli, onions and red wines. They are potent antioxidants capable of defending against heart disease and cancer. Some Flavonoids have been found to make the linings of blood vessels more flexible which could result in lower blood pressure and prevent the buildup of artery-clogging plaque, a major cause of heart attack and stroke.
Resveratrol, a significant Flavonoid found in red grapes, lowers blood sugar levels and supports liver function. Resveratrol has also contributed to the increased life span of lab animals by 32%. Research has also concluded that Resveratrol actually starved cancer cells by disrupting the function of a protein that assists in their feeding process.
Indoles, found in broccoli, cabbage, and other similar vegetables, gives off a bitter taste that repels bugs. That's Mother Nature’s way of protecting her plants from harmful plant eating bugs. When people, especially women, eat these vegetables, however, Indoles serve a different purpose. Indoles play a significant role in the prevention of breast cancer by reducing the levels of toxic forms of estrogen while increasing more benign forms of the hormone. What has been revealed, as a result of extensive research, is the Indoles found in cabbage and broccoli are helpful in the reduction of pain and muscle weakness in about 51% of Fibromyalgia patients. 51% may not sound very encouraging but for anyone who has endured the pain from Fibromyalgia, it’s a step in the right direction .
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