7 Phytonutrients Your Body Needs and What You Need to Eat to Get Them ...

Phytonutrients are a hot topic these days, which is due to the fact that there are many phytonutrients your body needs to function well. Phytonutrients are compounds that are found in plants. Their primary purpose is to protect plants from things like UV radiation and insects. That being said, when you eat plants like tomatoes, you also get benefits from the phytonutrients. Each phytonutrient has a specific benefit to offer, which is why there is a wide array of phytonutrients your body needs.

1. Zeaxanthin

Zeaxanthin is one of the phytonutrients your body needs. It is found in leafy green vegetables, and it is very important for eye health. Studies have demonstrated that zeaxanthin decreases the risk of eye diseases such as age related macular degeneration and cataracts by protecting eyes from harmful lights. You only need about 2 milligrams of zeaxanthin per day, which is easy to get if you eat kale, spinach, collard greens, and even romaine lettuce.

2. Lycopene

Lycopene is an important phytonutrient that you have probably heard a lot about. It is abundant in tomatoes, but it is also found in other red fruits and vegetables such as watermelon. Eating foods rich in lycopene can decrease the risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer. It can also help keep your heart healthy. Lycopene is absorbed much better by the body when it is cooked and has a little fat added, which is why tomato sauce with olive oil is a fantastic source of lycopene.

3. Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene is a phytonutrient that is converted by the body into Vitamin A, which has many health benefits including protecting you against vision loss. Beta-carotene is abundant in red, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables. Sweet potatoes, for example, are especially high in beta-carotene, and if you like them, you should include them in your diet often.

4. Quercetin

Quercetin is a phytonutrient that acts like an antihistamine, which makes it very helpful for people with allergies because antihistamines combat allergic reactions. It has also been found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells! To get plenty of quercetin, include apples, citrus fruits, and even onions in your diet.

5. Anthocyanin

Anthocyanin is a phytonutrient that is found in purple fruits and vegetables. As a result, eggplants, blueberries, blackberries, acai berries, and even purple potatoes are a great source of anthocyanin. You will want to include these foods in your diet as often as possible because anthocyanin decreases inflammation, improves cholesterol levels, helps regulate blood sugar, and may even prevent cancer!

6. Resveratrol

Grapes, grape juice, berries, and even red wine are all excellent sources of resveratrol. Resveratrol has anti-inflammatory properties and has been found to help prevent heart disease. Researchers have also discovered that resveratrol shows promising potential for inhibiting cancer cells! With these great benefits, you should eat grapes and berries often, and limit red wine to special occasions since it is an alcoholic beverage.

7. Ellagic Acid

Raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, pomegranates, walnuts, and pecans all contain the phytonutrient ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is a very beneficial phytonutrient for heart disease and diabetes. It has the ability to decrease levels of resistin, which is a compound that is associated with both diseases.

These are just a few of the many phytonutrients your body needs to stay healthy. To make sure you are getting all of the phytonutrients needed by your body, make sure you eat a wide assortment of colorful fruits and vegetables. Did you know that phytonutrients had so many different benefits?

whfoods.org, aoa.org, health.howstuffworks.com, nlm.nih.gov, umm.edu, altmedicine.about.com, lpi.oregonstate.edu, healthyeating.sfgate.com