Health Benefits of Phytonutrients
Researchers have uncovered thousands of different phytonutrients – beneficial compounds in fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and other plant-based foods (“phyto” is Greek for plant).
Phytonutrients often act as antioxidants, protecting the body’s cells from the damaging effect of free radicals. Antioxidants help to neutralize these free radicals. Scientists believe that phytonutrients work in concert to exert their antioxidant and immune-boosting effects.
Classes of Phytonutrients
Terpenoids also referred to as isoprenoids, are naturally occurring chemicals found in all types of living things. Plant terpenoids are known for their aromatic qualities – contributing to the scent of eucalyptus and the pungent flavours of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.
Carotenoids are the natural fat-soluble pigments that provide the colours
of many red, green, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. They act as powerful antioxidants and are used to make vitamin A. Some well-known carotenoids are alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin. Health benefits attributed to carotenoids include supporting cardiovascular function*, supporting ocular function* and supporting normal blood glucose*.
Bioflavonoids are water-soluble pigments. The flavone molecule, shown here, is the basis of all bioflavonoids. More than four thousand bioflavonoids have been identified, including anthocyanins, which give plants their vivid blue, purple, and deep red hues and are abundant in blueberries and red grape skins.
Bioflavonoids have been termed “natural biological response modifiers” because of their ability to adapt and moderate the body’s reaction to microbes – allergens. They have the demonstrated antiallergenic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties*. Bioflavonoids also serve as powerful antioxidants, protecting against oxidative stress and free-radical damage.
Isoflavones are a subclass of bioflavonoids that includes phytoestrogens such as lignans, and flavonols such as quercetin, which has antioxidant properties which support joint function.*
Quercetin also inhibits the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein and appears to offer cardiovascular function support.* Its best-known use is in helping alleviate the symptoms of seasonal allergies because of its antihistamine effects.*
There is also emerging evidence that isoflavones and lignans have beneficial effects supporting normal glucose levels.*
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.