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Organic Health Matters: Phytochemicals

Posted Sep 08 2011 11:32pm

In recent years scientists have discovered that foods contain “phytochemicals”, which is a fancy name for naturally occurring chemicals. This is not the same as nutrients, which we all know are the substances necessary for sustaining life. As a result, organic health experts continue to encourage the consumption of supplements with phytochemicals. This has even spread to the beauty industry as scientists unveil how phytochemicals can assist in anti aging.

Phytochemicals have properties that can aid in disease prevention and cures. Scientists have identified thousands of these chemicals in the foods we eat and a single serving of fruit or vegetables can contain as many as one hundred different phytochemicals. Some dieticians encourage their clients to include more fruits and vegetables in their diet due to the phytochemicals present in these fresh foods. You can even see phytochemical foods served in parties, celebrity engagements and social gatherings. It’s all done in the name of better health!

The most commonly known phytochemicals are the antioxidants. Antioxidants protect our cells from damage by toxic substances and free radicals (a by-product produced by our bodies which converts oxygen into energy). Free radicals can damage cells in our bodies which can lead to disease. Antioxidants protect the body from oxidation and reduce the risk of acquiring many common ailments.

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