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Ask the Experts

Phytonutrients and our health

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Q: What are phytonutrients and how do they affect our health?

A: Phytonutrients account for the spectrum of colours found in the garden. Phytonutrients are the active biochemical components of plant-based foods and products. Found primarily in the skins of fruits and vegetables, phytonutrients are not generally considered “essential” to our daily diet (as are vitamins and minerals), but contribute hugely to our overall health and the prevention of disease.

Phytonutrients are largely touted for their antioxidant ability, with flavonoids being the most avidly studied. Antioxidants help reduce and/or prevent oxidative damage that occurs on a cellular level when the body is exposed to toxins, and they also contain anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants also help slow the aging process, both internally and externally.

To reap the numerous benefits of phytonutrient-rich foods, try to include two to three servings of fruits and veggies with each meal.

If you’re looking to boost your phytonutrient intake but are unable to get your quota through diet and food alone, there are great (and convenient) functional food options. Green superfood supplements can be highly concentrated in phytonutrients, thus providing the body with important antioxidants and decreasing general inflammation by promoting an alkaline-forming diet. Additionally, the consumption of phytonutrients in some green food supplements may lead to better quality of life, optimal mood, and increased energy.

Look for green superfood products that have been thoroughly researched and tested. It is also important to ensure the product you choose uses a variety of high quality, whole food sourced ingredients.

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