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Fruits and Vegetables and Phytochemicals


I'm willing to bet you probably haven't heard the word 'phytochemicals' before. But you've been eating them your whole life and they are vitally important to your life and well-being. They are one of the keys to real health.

So, what are they? Phytochemicals are biologically active substances in food. They have health enhancing abilities and possibly curative abilities. They number in the hundreds in most plant foods. They are found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains.

Phytochemicals work together with nutrients to promote health and prevent disease. When you eat some broccoli or a tomato, you get all of these phytochemicals. So, can't you just take a supplement? You could, but first of all, scientists have isolated only a few of the phytochemicals in foods. But these work best in combination, so taking just one, isolated phytochemical is not anywhere near as effective.

For example, let's look at lycopene. It is found in tomatoes and is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are a large and important subject, but for now, let's just simplify and say that antioxidants help to repair cellular damage.

Scientists did studies and found that tomatoes had a noticeable effect against prostate cancer. They analyzed the tomato and isolated lycopene. Then the scientists did more studies, using lycopene. The effect on prostate cancer was much less. Does this mean that lycopene doesn't work?

No, it means that it works best in combination with all the other phytochemicals in tomatoes, and the nutrients. You don't get that from a chemically identical, but lab-created, lycopene.

Eating a tomato is good for you, of course. But eating all the tomatoes you would need to get what you need from them would be quite a task. So, a whole foods powder that I use, Berry Greens, offers freeze dried tomatoes, in a form that retains the nutrients. And a whole lot of other vegetables and fruits as well. You get all the benefits of eating all those fruits and vegetables, without having to consume all that food.

Most foods have not been analyzed and even those that have been, scientists have only been able to isolate a few of the phytochemicals. Most vegetables have hundreds of phytochemicals, and it's not likely they will all be isolated, analyzed and understood any time soon. We do know now, though, that they do work together to provide real health for us.

Barbara Pfieffer writes about gaining real health on her blog, Real Health. She has resources on what supplements really work, the differences among carbohydrates and other information to bring you to real health.


MORE RESOURCES:

LifeSpan to celebrate National Nutrition Awareness Day
Evening News and Tribune
A special hot lunch and nutrition education program will be provided to seniors at the centers that day at approximately 11 a.m. Reservations are required by noon Thursday, March 12. Donations of $2 per meal are appreciated, according to a LifeSpan ...



Philly.com

Perspective: On nutrition, the FDA's steady diet of getting it wrong
Tampabay.com
Nutrition science is the only science in which most of us actively participate. We all consume electricity, petroleum products and pharmaceuticals, but we aren't hunched over beakers or measuring magnetic fields. With food, we actively choose what and ...
Obama Administration Mulls Nutrition Guidelines That Say Americans Should ...TheBlaze.com
Climate Change, Sugar and Saturated-Fat GuidelinesWall Street Journal

all 13 news articles »


MinnPost

WHO joins US nutrition experts in calling for curb on sugar intake
MinnPost
One of the boldest changes to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommended last month by the guidelines' nutrition advisory panel was that Americans should curtail their sugar consumption to no more than 10 percent of their daily calories. That's about 12 ...
4 Ways to Tell How Much Sugar You're EatingTIME
How much sugar is in that? 7 foods with added sugarChron.com
WHO calls on countries to reduce sugars intake among adults and childrenPotatoPro
Toronto Star -Medical News Today -The Mercury
all 71 news articles »


Food for thought: is nutrition context-dependent?
Huffington Post
One paradigm that's always stuck out to me as ripe for improvement is the way we (Americans) learn, transmit, and interpret health and nutritional wisdom. How did we decide that low-fat diets are healthy? That "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"?



USDA.gov (press release) (blog)

National Nutrition Month: Raising a Healthier Generation through Diet, Education
USDA.gov (press release) (blog)
Our nutrition assistance programs, such as the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, provide children with the nutritious food they need to lead healthy lifestyles for the long term. To make this happen, it's imperative we teach our ...
Don't Waffle on Nutrition During School Breakfast WeekHuffington Post
Schools celebrate child nutrition with push for breakfastWECT-TV6

all 46 news articles »


Evansville Courier & Press

CFO Moves: Mead Johnson Nutrition, Vestis Retail Group
Wall Street Journal (blog)
Mead Johnson Nutrition Co.MJN +0.12%, a pediatric nutrition company based in Glenview, Ill., said Chief Financial Officer Peter Leemputte(CQ) will leave the company for personal reasons. Mr. Leemputte will hand over his responsibilities to Charles ...
Mead Johnson Nutrition Company: Mead Johnson Nutrition Increases Size of ...The Wall Street Transcript
Mead Johnson Nutrition Company Price Target UpdateWall Street Pulse
River Point signs Mead Johnson Nutrition as tenantCanada NewsWire (press release)

all 32 news articles »


MLive.com

Atherton schools administrators share nutritional advice at national event
MLive.com
BURTON, MI -- Two Atherton schools administrators recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to give input on how to improve school nutrition. Bethany Taylor, food service director for Atherton School District, and Susanne Carpenter, principal of Atherton ...



Magruder Hospital celebrates National Nutrition Month
Port Clinton News Herald
PORT CLINTON – Magruder Hospital's Nutrition Department is celebrating National Nutrition Month throughout March and the theme is Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle. There will be a different theme and taste tests available in the Fulton Street Cafe each week.



Distorting Nutrition Facts to Generate Buzz
Huffington Post
In mid-February, the government released a scientific report that will shape its 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Think of it as America's basic nutrition policy. Most people who read the report would have viewed it as a snore; not much has changed.

and more »


The News Journal

March is nutrition month, and start of annual challenge
The News Journal
What we choose to eat on a regular basis has an impact on our energy level, our weight, our immune system and our risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Each March and throughout the year, the Academy of Nutrition and ...
National Nutrition Month Celebrates Healthy Eating, Active LivingWCTV
Recipe and photo challenge for National Nutrition MonthRochester Democrat and Chronicle (blog)
Brazil's nutrition wisdom: No junk food, no eating aloneGrist
Daily Herald -One Green Planet
all 73 news articles »

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