Phytonutrients are natural chemicals or compounds produced by plants. They keep plants healthy, protecting them from insects and the sun.
They can be found in:
Phytonutrients also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help support a healthy human body.
There are thousands of phytonutrients found in plants and related foods. Some of the most common phytonutrients are:
While their antioxidant qualities lead the pack in healthful benefits, phytonutrients are also known for other characteristics:
Phytonutrients are available in supplement form. However, they are best consumed as nutrient-rich foods.
Supplements don’t provide all the necessary nutrients to sustain the body and, in rare cases of high dosage, can be toxic.
Carotenoids are pigments in plants that are responsible for the bright-colored hues of vegetables and fruits. There are more than 600 carotenoids, and they must be consumed through foods and sources of fat. Some common types of carotenoids include:
Carotenoids act as antioxidants, and some can be converted into vitamin A. They support immune system function, eye health, and reduce your risk of cancer. Some foods rich in carotenoids are:
Ellagic acid is a phytochemical known for reducing cancer risk and lowering cholesterol. Ellagic acid has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The highest levels of ellagic acid are present in raspberries. Other foods rich in this compound include:
Resveratrol is found predominantly in grapes — specifically, the grape skin — and wine. This compound supports cardiovascular and cognitive health. Resveratrol has also been associated with increased cerebral blood flow.
Resveratrol can be found in other foods:
Flavonoids are one of the largest groups of phytonutrients. This compound is rich in antioxidant properties and anticancer activity. There are many subgroups of flavonoids, including:
Some foods rich in flavonoid compounds are:
These compounds are associated with reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
Phytoestrogen mimics estrogen in the body, which may be beneficial for women in relieving discomfort from hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
However, some studies have shown phytoestrogens may disrupt hormone function.
Be mindful of your intake of phytoestrogens and get to know how they may impact your body, as everyone is different.
Foods rich in phytoestrogen compounds include:
Glucosinolates are compounds found predominantly in cruciferous vegetables. They are known for helping to regulate inflammation, metabolic function, and stress responses. Glucosinolates have also been associated with cancer prevention. Studies in rats and mice found that the compounds that form from broken down glucosinololates inactivate carcinogens and protect cells from DNA damage. However, this has not been proven in human studies. Common foods rich in glucosinolates include:
Phytonutrients are best consumed in whole fruits and vegetables. Ideally, one should be eating 5-9 servings of dark greens and brightly colored fruits and vegetables from a wide variety of plant sources. At Fit 4 Maui, we encourage our customers to choose food first and use supplements to help bridge the gap. Unfortunately, our busy and on-the-go lifestyles make it tough for many to follow sound nutritional principles. So, we offer the next best thing which is our Lifeguard Greens and Lifeguard Reds. These formulas contain phytonutrients from each classification above and from USDA certified organic sources.