Eat the Rainbow April 08 2015

Phytochemicals and Why They're Important 

When plants grow under the sun, they absorb nutrients from the earth. To protect themselves, they product natural chemicals called "phytochemicals" which provide antioxidant effects. Research shows that phytochemicals are able to reduce the damage to our cells that causes various diseases like cancer. Studies have also shown that high intakes of fruits and vegetables are correlated with lower risks of chronic disease and obesity. Phytochemicals are broken into different classes: flavonoids, carotenoids, chlorophyll, and isothyocynates. 
                                      
Flavonoids: Act as an antioxidant, enhance effects of vitamin C and strengthen cell tissues.
Carotenoids: Found in mostly richly collored yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables. Known for high antioxidant properties and protective effects against certain cancers
Chlorophyl: Studies have found that chlorophyll has anti-flammatory, antioxidant, and wound-healing properties. 
Isothyocynates: Found in cruiciferous vegetables like bokchoy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and kale.The best way to absorb the phytochemicals in these foods it to eat them raw or use cooking techniques like steaming