Phytonutrients are a group of compounds found in plant foods that are responsible for their distinct colour, flavour and smell.
These compounds act as the plants defense mechanism, protecting them against environmental stressors and pests. To humans however, they have powerful disease fighting capabilities. Really it should be spelt, fightonutrients.
Scientists estimate that there are over 4000 types of phytonutrients, each offering different health benefits. When you combine them together, they have an even stronger synergistic effect. That is why it's important to always have a rainbow of colour on your plate. People that eat a diet rich in phytonutrients have lower disease risk particularly in regards to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Whilst all of these phytonutrients are yet to be studied, the ones that have are shown to be present in plants that are rich in colour. Colour is therefore an easy way to identify these phytonutrients.
Over the next few weeks I will be sharing with you the different phytonutrients found in foods based on colour and tips on how to increase them in your diet. To kick this series off, i am going to start with the colour RED!
There's a wide range of red foods you can boost your diet with. One of my favorites is pomegranate which is extra special due to the ellagic acid, an important component for your liver to aid in the removal of toxins. Strawberries, grapes, and apples contain the compound fisetin, which has anti-cancer, antiaging, and anti-inflammatory properties. Watermelon and pink grapefruit are two excellent sources of lycopene, but cooked tomatoes seem to have the highest content!
- Beans (Adzuki, Kidney,
- Bell pepper
- Blood oranges
- Grapefruit (pink)
- Goji berries
- Sweet red peppers
- Rooibos tea
- Ellagic Acid
- Cell protection
- DNA health
- Immune health
- Prostate health
- Vascular health
01: Cook your tomatoes to increase the lycopene content
02: Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over your salads for burst of sweet flavor, crunch, and colour
03: Add goji berries to a trail mix or sprinkle over yoghurt, oats or muesli
04: Keeping the skin on red-skinned foods, like apples, onions, and potatoes however it’s best to buy organic if eating the skin