If you are regularly consuming a diet of whole unprocessed foods, such as grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables, you are eating foods that contain essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. These foods also provide an abundance of health promoting, naturally occurring phytochemicals. Although phytochemicals are considered non-essential or non-nutritive, don’t let that distinction fool you. While these bioactive compounds may not be considered life sustaining, they are known to powerfully support health through their disease protective or disease preventive qualities. These naturally synthesized phytochemicals perform important tasks in plant metabolism such as growth regulation. They also provide plants with defensive strategies in response to environmental stressors such as harsh weather conditions, ultraviolet radiation, or insect infestation.
Much of early medicine relied on plants and herbs for healing, a practice still supported by modern science. It’s widely accepted that plant-based foods contain complex mixtures of beneficial synergistic compounds that are largely responsible for protective health benefits well beyond the plants’ nutritive value. The recommended dietary guidelines to include multiple daily servings of vegetables and fruits is based on population studies that suggest colorful plant foods offer a degree of protection against cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, neurodegeneration, inflammatory conditions, and loss of functional abilities.
Eating a variety of these colorful foods helps to ensure that you are receiving an assortment of nutrients, as well as the beneficial phytochemicals responsible for the beautiful colors. Thousands of phytochemicals have been identified and there are likely many more that have yet to be discovered. It is largely accepted that the health effects attributed to the consumption of phytochemicals are primarily due to the synergistic actions of the bioactive dietary components, as well as the micronutrients.
In general, when selecting colorful foods, the darker the color, the higher the phytochemical concentration. Many phytochemicals have antioxidant effects that help protect cells from oxidative damage and reduce the risks of developing certain types of cancer. Others have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, antimicrobial, anti-adhesion, anti-aging and neuroprotective properties. Increasing the consumption and the variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a practical strategy for optimizing health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Green foods are rich in lutein which works synergistically with zeaxanthin to support eye health and reduce cataract and macular degeneration risks. Phytochemicals found in green foods boost the immune system, help detoxify the body, support energy and vitality and provide indoles, naturally occurring chemicals that help protect against some types of cancer.
Blue, purple and red foods produce many different phytochemicals that include anthocyanins, lutein, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, and flavonoids. These help to fight inflammation, support eye health, boost immunity, limit cancer activity and help lower LDL cholesterol. Anthocyanins act as powerful antioxidants, and may support healthy blood pressure, help prevent unnatural clot formations, lower cancer risk and support overall healthy aging. Naturally occurring in fruit, vegetables, wine, tea and chocolate, flavonoids are effective free radical scavengers and heavy metal chelators. Flavonoids support cardiovascular and urinary tract health, healthy blood pressure, and healthy blood glucose levels.
Red foods provide lycopene and anthocyanins known for their antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. These may help protect against atherosclerosis and inhibit tumor growth, while providing support for cardiac health and overall healthy function.
Yellow and orange foods provide carotenoids that are integral for immune, skin and bone health. Carotenoid-rich foods may help reduce the risks of heart disease and lung, esophageal and stomach cancers.
While colorless, white foods contain an abundance of phytochemicals, as well as powerful nutrients that support immune health, reduce cancer and heart disease risk, and lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Professional Supplement Center carries many high quality products to support good nutrition and overall health and wellness:
Green Vibrance by Vibrant Health®: This clinically formulated, award winning plant-based superfood is formulated to provide nutrients for peak cellular function in support of increased energy, improved circulation and strengthened digestive and immune health. This easily absorbed, nutrient dense whole foods concentrate also provides fiber, adaptogens, enzymes, prebiotics, and 12 dairy free strains of probiotic cultures. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.
Vitamineral Green™ by Health Force SuperFoods™: This foundational broad-spectrum nutritionally dense superfood complex features the best of land and sea micronutrients and mineral rich organic or wildcrafted grasses, herbs, algae, and sea vegetables, as well as digestive enzymes and probiotics. Laboratory tested for botanical identity, heavy metals, microbes and pesticides. Gluten free, vegan formulation.
Natural Greens Formula™ Vegetable and Fruit Superfood by BioPharma Scientific: This complete formula provides proprietary blends of phytonutrients, including fruits, vegetables, and herbal extracts along with dietary enzymes and fiber. Natural Greens supports healthy immunity, exergy production, exercise recovery, detoxification and regularity. Non-GMO vegan formulation.
Super Greens Berry by Neurobiologix: This great tasting, energizing phytonutrient blend provides certified organic whole food plant extracts in support of digestion, detoxification, immunity, repair, recovery, revitalization and longevity. This popular professional formula includes high ORAC value antioxidant vegetables, fruits, herbs and digestive enzymes. Dairy, wheat and gluten free formulation.
Organic Greens and Reds by Douglas Laboratories®: This concentrated all-natural blend of organic grasses, fruits, vegetables, fiber and enzymes provides overall health support with a wide assortment of colorful whole foods to help meet the daily fruit and vegetable dietary recommendations. Gluten free, Non-GMO Vegetarian formulation.
Characteristics and Health Benefits of Phytochemicals. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27160996
Health benefits of fruit and vegetables. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/517S.full
Phytochemicals’ Role in Good Health. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/090313p70.shtml
Eating the Rainbow. https://foodrevolution.org/blog/eating-the-rainbow-health-benefits/
Color Me Healthy. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/110308p34.shtml