We all know fruit and veggies are really good for us and are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
But have you heard of phytonutrients?
Phytonutrients (pronounced fight-o-nutrients) literally means plant nutrient. These are the natural compounds that give plant foods their vibrant colours, tastes and smells. They’re also big on health benefits and may even be considered “essential for life” as we can’t make them in our body.
There are more than 5,000 phytonutrients and scientists are just beginning to unlock the full therapeutic potential of these powerful plant compounds.
Blueberries have the phytonutrient anthocyanin that may help with memory
Tomatoes are rich in the phytonutrient lycopene. This not only gives tomatoes their red colour, but research shows it may help fight heart disease and prostate cancer
Ginger has the phytonutrient gingerol that has been linked to helping hypertension
Oranges have the phytonutrient hesperidin that has been associated with a reduced risk of stroke
Onions and apples contain the phytonutrient quercetin that may help with inflammation, and
Kumara are orange thanks to the phytonutrient beta-carotene that may protect against UV radiation.
This list is just the start. These natural disease-fighting nutrients are part of the reason that eating a plant-based diet is so healthy and has been linked to providing more energy, a better complexion, being slimmer and healthier.
It’s important to remember that we can’t get all 5,000+ phytonutrients from a supplement – whole food is the only way to go. No single supplement tablet can replace the complex mixtures of 100’s of phytonutrients within the whole food.
To bump up the phytonutrients in your diet aim to eat a rainbow of vegetables and fruit. This way you’ll gain benefits from a wide range of phytonutrients.
We are talking common fruit and veggies. There’s no need for exotic “super foods” that can break the budget. Sticking with colourful, in-season produce will help you to bring the price down even further.
So, as we head into spring, what phytonutrient rich fruit and vegetables should you be adding to your trolley?
red, orange and yellow vegetables and fruit such as tomatoes, carrots, capsicums, pumpkin, kumara, melons, citrus fruits and berries
dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, bok choy, broccoli and cos lettuce
and don’t forget white veggies like garlic, onions, and leeks.
And don’t forget those wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds, which all contribute those life giving phytonutrients.
Phytonutrient-rich meal and snack ideas Middle eastern farro salad Roasted vegetables on couscous with Moroccan dressing Five spice fried quinoa