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Why You Need More Phytonutrients

By Sara Butler

The world of nutrition is filled with buzzwords. No doubt you've heard micronutrients, macronutrients, probiotics, and phytonutrients thrown around in a healthy eating article or two. But just because these multi-syllable words can cause confusion doesn't mean they're meaningless. Phytonutrients are a great example because getting to know them can have a huge impact on your diet as well as your overall health.

What are Phytonutrients?

Phytonutrients may be a trendy buzzword, but there's nothing new about them. They are the natural chemicals found in plants. There are thousands of phytonutrients, some have been studied more than others, but they all are good for you.

The most common phytonutrients include:

  • Flavanols
  • Polyphenols
  • Anthocyanins
  • Flavonoids
  • Catechins
  • Procyanidins
  • Proanthocyanins
  • Stilbenes
  • Lignans

No need to commit that list to memory, you simply need to know where to find them, which is much easier to memorize.

You can find these phytonutrients in:

  • Legumes
  • Grains
  • Nuts
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Tea
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits

The Benefits

When you eat a balanced diet you're bound to naturally get a good amount of various phytonutrients in your diet. That's because phytonutrients, aside from making plants more nutritious, make the food look better, smell better, and taste better. These phytonutrients have a lot of benefits to your health, including:

  • Increased heart health
  • Lower risk of prostate cancer
  • Improved immune system function
  • Improved vision
  • Healthy skin
  • Protection against certain types of cancer
  • Improvement in asthma symptoms
  • Lower risk of heart disease

That's not an exhaustive list, but it just goes to show you how healthy phytonutrients are for your health.

How to Get More

You don't have to follow a rabbit food diet to get enough phytonutrients each day. There are some simple strategies you can put in place, such as:

  • Go meatless - Replace meat with beans a couple of times per week in your meals, since beans contain anthocyanins that can help to prevent high blood pressure and heart disease
  • Have some tea - Switch out your morning coffee for some green tea. You can also find the same phytonutrients as tea in tart cherry juice or pomegranate juice.
  • Season your food with spices - Herbs and spices in the place of salt and butter can help you get more phytonutrients as well as less salt and butter
  • Eat more nuts - Having nuts instead of chips or pretzels can help protect your cells and reduce your risk of cancer

Phytonutrients aren't hard to get if you eat a balanced and healthy diet!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Downey, Calif.

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