In addition to vitamins, minerals and fiber, plant foods contain naturally-occurring substances called phytochemicals. They protect plants from sunlight, wind, viruses, bacteria and fungi. They also protect us. Research shows that phytochemicals appear to have disease-fighting properties that may help protect against cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other chronic health conditions. According to the American Cancer Society , we can reduce our risk of cancer by 30 to 40 percent simply by eating more fruits, vegetables and other plant sources that contain phytochemicals.
At present, there is no evidence to show that supplements are as helpful as eating whole fruits, vegetables, beans and grains. Scientists have found thousands of phytochemicals, but only a few have been studied closely.
Many of the bright colors in fruits and vegetables come from phytochemicals. Eat a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables everyday to benefit from all the potential disease-fighting properties. Strive to eat the colors of the rainbow everyday!