I’m sure you’ve all heard of vitamins and minerals, the nutrients found in food essential for good health. What you may not know is that food also contains other chemical components thought to promote health known as phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals is the name used to describe the whole range of health promoting chemicals from antioxidants, flavonols, polyphenols and much, much more.
So what are these chemical wonders and how can they help me?
Science is continuing to uncover more and more components of food that are physiologically active. This means that they interact with other chemicals or systems in the body and although they are not deemed essential in the diet, they can provide us with significant health benefits.
Studies have shown that diets rich in fruit and vegetables show a reduced risk of cancer. This research, plus other studies have lead us to the conclusion that fruit and vegetables are contain phytochemicals that block the development of cancer. Research is still a long way off in terms of fully understanding how these chemicals work and interact with the body, however, we do know that there is much more to a vegetable than our basic vitamins and minerals.
What’s important to understand is that current multi-vitamin and mineral supplements contain little or none of these chemicals and this is why nutritionists always recommend the importance of meeting your bodies nutrient needs through a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains, legumes and nuts, not just swallowing a pill everyday.
Although supplements may be helpful for some individuals to meets certain nutrient requirements, don’t be tempted to take a supplement as a substitute for a healthy diet. Your body will benefit far more from whole fresh foods than a supplement based on limited nutritional knowledge. There is so much about food we have yet to discover.
Here are some great articles on how you can include more vegetables in your diet and reap the benefits of what phytochemicals have to offer.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.hercanberra.com.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/kf.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Kate Freeman is passionate about honest, simple nutrition information and inspiring people to make positive lifestyle changes to achieve their health and fitness goals. Her online business Kate Freeman Nutrition is all about providing simple, practical, easy to follow nutrition and exercise advice that you can apply today. Please visit www.katefreemannutrition.com.au for more information. Kate is married with two young children and lives just across the border from Canberra. [/author_info] [/author]
Kate Freeman is a Registered Nutritionist. She believes in fresh whole foods from all the groups just in the right balance. Her philosophy is long term lifestyle change and habit building by providing practical, easy to follow advice that you can apply straight away. Her private practice is: www.healthyeatinghub.com.auView all Kate Freeman posts.