As you probably already know, fruits and vegetables contain more than vitamins and/or minerals—they also house a wide variety of other chemical compounds called phytonutrients. Also called phytochemicals, they help keep the plant healthy by protecting it from the sun, insects and other environmental assaults.
Lately, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding phytonutrients in supplement form. Of course, in a perfect world, you would get all of the goodness found in produce by eating lots of apples, cabbage, carrots, spinach, grapes and whatever other fruits and veggies you like. Unfortunately, due to busy schedules, rising produce costs and some folks just not liking veggies that much, many of us are not getting the health benefits of these superfoods.
To get a better understanding of fruit and veggie supplements—for example, what phytonutrients they may contain and their possible health benefits—please consider the following points:
Common Types of Phytonutrients
If you have ever enjoyed a glass of red wine because you read that grapes contain a healthy compound called resveratrol, you have already partaken in a type of phytonutrient. Resveratrol may be good for cardiovascular and cognitive health, and may help increase in blood flow to the brain. Dark chocolate also contains resveratrol, so if you paired your glass of wine with some chocolate, you can pat yourself on the back for your brain-boosting snack.
Another class of phytonutrients is the carotenoids, which have been found to be good for your eyes and your immune system. Two of the most common carotenoids are lutein and zeaxanthin, which are naturally found in the retina. In general, carotenoids are found in brightly colored fruits and veggies like carrots, tomatoes, yams and spinach. Another phytochemical that you might have heard about is called ellagic acid; it is known for possibly reducing cancer risk and lowering cholesterol. Ellagic acid is naturally found in strawberries, blackberries, grapes and pomegranates.
More on the Health Benefits of Phytonutrients
In general, phytonutrient-rich fruits and veggies are powerful disease fighters. Besides the health benefits noted above, consuming them on a regular basis is linked to a lowered risk of heart disease, certain types of cancers, type 2 diabetes and other types of serious health conditions. Women may especially benefit from phytonutrients because they’ve been linked to a reduction in ovarian and breast cancers.
How to Boost Your Daily Intake of Phytonutrients
As mentioned earlier, if you love fruits and veggies and eat lots of them on a regular basis, more power to you. “Eating the rainbow” is a great daily goal and will help you get natural amounts of phytonutrients. However, if you are not getting a lot of produce in your diet, supplements can provide a type of nutritional insurance. For example, one company that sells a high quality and affordable phytonutrient supplement is Amway—if you are wondering “What is Amway, anyway?” consider visiting the company’s YouTube channel to learn more about its mission and product offering. For instance, Amway sells the Nutrilite Double X Vitamin and Mineral Phytonutrient Supplement in a 31-day supply; just two servings a day will provide you with 12 essential vitamins, 10 minerals and 22 plant concentrates.
From Diet or Supplements, Phytonutrients are Important to Good Health
Now that you know more about phytonutrients and their role in your health, it is reassuring to know that you don’t have to eat plates full of fruits and veggies—unless you want to—to get more of these vital plant compounds. By adding a phytonutrient supplement to your daily regimen, you will still enjoy the health benefits of a plant-rich diet.