Phytonutrients in a Plant-Based Diet - dummies

Phytonutrients in a Plant-Based Diet

By Marni Wasserman

Phytonutrients (or phytochemicals) are the major contributors to the color, taste, and smell of many plant-based foods. The word is also an umbrella term for the compounds that plants make that improve a human’s health. These gems possess natural chemicals that protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs, and other unsavory characters.

This brilliance gives you a glimpse of what they can do in your body, as well, in terms of overall wellness.

What phytonutrients do

Phytonutrients are small compounds that have powerful results. Knowing the different subcategories, such as tannins, flavonoids, and alkaloids, may not be as useful as understanding what phytonutrients do. Here are just some of the wonderful benefits they offer:

  • Antioxidant

  • Antibiotic

  • Cancer preventive

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Tissue supportive

  • Immune supportive

  • Tissue protective

Where to find phytonutrients

Phytonutrients are pretty much everywhere in plant land, which means you probably don’t have to go out of your way to buy unfamiliar foods. They exist most prolifically in:

  • Beans

  • Fruits, vegetables, and herbs

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Tea

  • Whole grains