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Phytochemicals. By: Anna Mancini. Definition. Phytochemicals consist of a large group of non-nutrient compounds that are biologically active in the body Found in plants, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, herbs, tea and spices. Polyphenols.

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By: Anna Mancini

  • Phytochemicals consist of a large group of non-nutrient compounds that are biologically active in the body
  • Found in plants, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, herbs, tea and spices
  • Polyphenolicphytochemicals make up the largest group
  • The polyphenols, which include more than 8,000 compounds can be divided into a variety of classes
classes of phytochemicals
Classes of Phytochemicals
  • Flavonoids
  • Carotenoids
  • Terpenes
  • Organosulfides
  • Phenolic Acids
  • Lignans
  • Saponins
  • Phytosterols
  • Glucosinolates
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Flavonoids are water soluble polyphenolic molecules containing 15 carbon atoms
  • The most important dietary sources of flavonoids are fruit, tea and soybean
flavonoid subclasses
Flavonoid Subclasses
  • Flavonols
  • Flavanols
  • Flavones
  • Flavanones
  • Anthocyanidins
  • Isoflavones
health benefits of flavonoids
Health Benefits of Flavonoids
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Reduced risk of Cardiovascular Disease
  • Reduced risk of some cancers
  • Anti-allergenic
  • Anti-inflammatory
green tea
Green Tea
  • The antioxidants found in green tea are called catechins, which are in the flavanol subclass
  • The catechins scavenge free radicals that can damage DNA and contribute to cancer, blood clots, and atherosclerosis.
  • Green tea's EGCG regulates and inhibits cancer growth and kills cells that are growing inappropriately.
green tea1
Green Tea
  • Researchers found that drinking at least four cups of green tea every day may be related to the reduced severity of coronary heart disease among the male participants.
  • Green tea and its extract have been shown to fight obesity and lower LDL "bad" cholesterol -- two risk factors for heart disease and diabetes -- but in very limited studies.
  • Carotenoids are a widely distributed group of naturally occurring pigments, usually red, orange, or yellow in color.
  • They are known to be essential for plant growth and photosynthesis, and are a main dietary source of vitamin A in humans.
common carotenoids
Common Carotenoids
  • β-carotene
  • α-carotene
  • Lycopene
  • Lutein
  • Zeaxanthin
food sources
Food Sources
  • The orange-colored fruits and vegetables including carrots, apricots, mangoes, squash, and sweet potatoes contain significant amounts of beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin.
  • Green vegetables, especially spinach, kale, and collard greens, also contain beta-carotene, and are the best sources of lutein.
  • Lycopene is found in tomatoes, guava, and pink grapefruit. Salmon, shellfish, milk, and egg yolks also provide carotenoids.
health benefits
Health Benefits
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Reduced risk of Cardiovascular disease
  • Prevents eye degeneration
  • Reduced risk of some cancers
  • Immune-enhancing activity
  • Prevent Vitamin A deficiency
  • Epidemiological studies have shown that high intake of lycopene-containing vegetables is inversely associated with the incidence of certain types of cancer including digestive tract, prostate, and cervix.
  • A combination of vitamin E, selenium, and lycopene dramatically inhibited prostate cancer development and increased disease-free survival.
  • Lycopene also strongly suppressed the growth of lung cancer cells and was found to be more potent than either α-carotene or β-carotene.
  • Beta-carotene is converted to retinol, which is essential for vision and is subsequently converted to retinoic acid, which is used for processes involving growth and cell differentiation.
  • Beta-carotene/vitamin A supplements may have an adverse effect on the incidence of lung cancer and on the risk of death in smokers and asbestos exposed people or in those who ingest significant amounts of alcohol.
  • Add chopped fruit to cereal, oatmeal, and yogurt
  • Add fresh greens, carrots, celery, broccoli, beans, and peppers to soups and spaghetti sauce
  • Keep dried fruits like raisins, apricots, and prunes for snacking instead of chips
  • Try replacing sodas and sports drinks with green or black teas
  • Add salsa to eggs, and use it in place of creamy dips for raw vegetables
  • Replaced processed grains for whole grains. (Refining wheat reduces phytochemical content by 200-300 %.)
  • RuhulAmin A.R., Kucuk O., Khuri F.R., Shin D.M. (2009 June 1). Perspectives for Cancer Prevention With Natural Compounds. Journal of Clinical Oncology, ; 27(16): 2712–2725.