Phytochemicals: Guardians of our health.

January 1, 1997 Human Health and Nutrition Data 0 Comments

Phytochemicals: Guardians of our health.

Year: 1997
Authors: W J Craig.
Publication Name: J. Am. Diet. Assoc.
Publication Details: Volume 97 (suppl.2); S199.


In this short review paper, the author recommends the consumption of plant foods to provide “phytochemicals”, nonnutritive substances in plants that possess health-protective characteristics. Nuts, whole grains, fruits and vegetables contain phenolic compounds, terpenoids, pigments, natural antioxidants and other constituents which have been associated with protection and/or treatment of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and other conditions. He provides an overview of the health properties of phytates, protease inhibitors, phytosterols, saponins and isoflavonoids found in soy products. Phytochemicals in fruits, vegetables and whole grains are identified and their health benefits are described. Flavonoids in plant products are also reviewed in this paper. The author discusses the health benefits of flaxseed which include an ability to lower blood TC and LDL-C. The ALA in flaxseed oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects that are useful in the treatment of lupus, arthritis and allergies. ALA has also been reported to have the ability to boost the immune system. flaxseed as a rich source of anticarcinogenic lignans is recommended as a dietary supplement.

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