We all know that eating our fruits and vegetables is good for us. They supply needed vitamins, minerals, and fiber and are usually low in calories (1). But another way that fruits and vegetables benefit our health is through phytonutrients.
Phytonutrients are unique compounds found in fruits and vegetables that have positive effects on our health. There are many types of phytonutrients, and each one supports our bodies in a different way (2).
One characteristic shared by many phytonutrients is a high-antioxidant capacity, which enables these compounds to defend the body against the damaging effects of free radicals. A few phytonutrients can even function as vitamins.
Carotenoids: Good for Your Eyes and So Much More
Carotenoids are among the most abundant phytonutrients and can be easily identified since they color fruits and vegetables with vivid red, orange, and yellow hues. Dark green vegetables are also rich sources of carotenoid phytonutrients.
Two types of carotenoids are beta-carotene and lycopene.
Beta-carotene is a special carotenoid that can be converted to vitamin A in the body. Our bodies need vitamin A for several functions, including the maintenance of blood vessels, the immune system, and the retina of the eye (3).
Unlike beta-carotene, lycopene cannot function as vitamin A. However, lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that supports skin, eye, prostate, and heart health (4).
Make sure you are getting your carotenoids by enjoying a variety of yellow, orange, red, and dark green vegetables every week. Snack on carrot sticks or red and yellow sweet peppers. Stir some spinach into pasta sauce or serve roasted sweet potato wedges as a side dish or snack.
Flavonoids: Abundant Antioxidants
Flavonoids are a second important group of phytonutrients. They are commonly found in foods such as berries, citrus fruits, and dark chocolate. Like carotenoids, they are a key nutrient for supporting cardiovascular health. Two of these health-promoting compounds include citrus bioflavonoids and resveratrol.
- Citrus Bioflavonoids
Citrus bioflavonoids provide strong support for healthy blood vessels. They work together with vitamin C to help defend the body’s cardiovascular system from the cellular harm of free radicals (5, 6).
Resveratrol may be best know as the flavonoid found in red wine since it’s naturally produced in the skin of grapes. But it can also be found in small amounts in berries, chocolate, and even some nuts. It’s an especially well-studied phytonutrient because of its support to metabolism and healthy aging (7).
Get your flavonoids by enjoying citrus fruits, berries, and high-quality chocolate. Add orange slices to your salads, use fresh lime juice to make a zesty marinade, or blend a handful of berries into a smoothie or shake.
Isagenix products that can bump up your flavonoids include C-Lyte® and Ageless Actives™ which are both part of Ageless Essentials Daily Packs. IsaDelight® chocolates are an indulgent way to include flavonoids from chocolate in your day.
Phytonutrient Powerhouse: Isagenix Greens and Isagenix Fruits
Isagenix Greens™ and Isagenix Fruits™ are created from a blend of powdered vegetables and fruits using a spray-dried process that preserves key phytonutrients and antioxidants. Isagenix Greens is a blend of more than 30 ingredients including chlorella, spirulina, green tea, broccoli, and kale. Isagenix Fruits provides phytonutrients from fruits like açai berry, mangosteen, noni, pomegranate, and wolfberry. Both Isagenix Greens and Isagenix Fruits contain an array of plant-based ingredients that are sources of carotenoid and flavonoid phytonutrients.
Many of the benefits we receive by eating fruits and vegetables are powered by the phytonutrients they contain. These plant compounds make an impact on our well-being in a number of ways, from protecting against free radicals to supporting a healthy heart. Because of the important role they play in promoting good health, you’ll want to make sure you are getting your phytonutrients every day.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. 2015.
- Liu RH. Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals. AJCN. 2003;78:517S-520S.
- Potter AR. Reducing Vitamin A Deficiency: Could Save the Eyesight and Lives of Countless Children. BMJ, 1997;314:317-318
- Kalai Selvan V, Vijayakuman A, Suresh Kumar K, Gyanedra Nath Singh. Lycopene’s Effects on Health and Diseases A Comprehensive Review of the Literature. Nat Med J. 2011; 3(3):1
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