Phytochemicals are “naturally occurring” plant chemicals which give plants their color, flavor and odor (phyto came from the Greek word meaning “plant”). It has been established that once you eat these phytochemicals, they can influence and affect all sorts of chemical processes inside your body for your greater health.

Scientific studies have indicated that phytochemicals can –

  • Lessen oxidative damage to cells that can trigger cancer
  • Prevent DNA damage and help with DNA repair
  • Fuel the immune system
  • Block substances we eat, drink and breathe from becoming carcinogens
  • Decrease the kind of inflammation that triggers cancer growth
  • Slow the growth rate of cancer cells
  • Stimulate damaged cells to commit suicide before they can reproduce
  • Help to regulate hormones
Ways to Take Advantage of Phytochemicals

While studies on phytochemicals continue, we do recommend the following for you to get the best from it, the best bets for achieving the maximum health benefits possible include:

  • Eat a lot of brightly colored or strongly flavored vegetables and fruits which are the best sources of these cancer fighter chemicals
  • Dine on a variety of vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes – all being organic!
  • As much as possible, consume only fresh or raw food. Furthermore, eating phytochemicals in supplement form may not be easily absorbed as the real, fresh ones.
A Basic Guide to Phytochemicals

With the variety of phytochemicals continuously being identified, studied and used as food sources now, we decided to share with you this table of the most identified phytochemicals, their benefits and sources.

Image by Stephen Nah / CC BY 2.0