Gain Health Benefits by Growing Your Own Nutrition Powerhouse!
Fruits and vegetables have been in the public eye for years because of their nutritional benefits. What is it about these plant-based products that give us positive health outcomes? In addition to the vitamins and minerals they provide, researchers have been making advancements to find more answers. What they are discovering is that plant- based foods are high in phytochemicals; (pronounced “fight-o-chemicals”).
Phytochemicals were unknown until a few years ago, but their discovery is recognized as being as important to that of vitamins. These non-nutritive, plant- based chemicals give fruits and vegetables their flavor, odor, and color. More than 900+ different phytochemicals have been found in plant foods. For instance, lycopene is found in pink and red fruits and vegetables. A phytochemical group called carotenoids are found in dark orange, yellow, and leafy green fruits, and vegetables (1, 2, 3).
According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, once we eat fruits and vegetables, they can positively influence the chemical processes in our bodies in helpful ways. Findings from laboratory studies have shown that phytochemicals have the potential to: Stimulate the immune system; Block substances we eat, drink, and breathe from becoming carcinogens; Reduce the kind of inflammation that makes cancer growth more likely, and Prevent cell damage and help with cell repair.
This season, when planting your own nutritional powerhouse garden, remember to choose fruits and vegetables based on color. Favor brightly colored or strongly flavored fruits and vegetables, as these are often the best sources of phytochemicals!