Phytochemicals: Health Protective Effects
Consuming a diet rich in plant foods will provide a milieu of phytochemicals, non-nutritive substances in plants that possess health-protective benefits. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, herbs, nuts and seeds contain an abundance of phenolic compounds, terpenoids, sulfur compounds, pigments, and other natural antioxidants that have been associated with protection from and/or treatment of conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. The foods and herbs with the highest anticancer activity include garlic, soybeans, cabbage, ginger, licorice root, and the umbelliferous vegetables. Citrus, in addition to providing an ample supply of vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, and soluble fibre, contains a host of active phytochemicals. Clinical trials have not yet been able to demonstrate the same protective effects from taking supplements. It is difficult to estimate how many Canadians achieve an adequate level of consumption, but it seems reasonable to assume that many Canadians could benefit from substantially increasing their intake of vegetables and fruit.
Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research
Population Health, Nutrition & Wellness
Craig, Winston J. and Beck, Leslie, "Phytochemicals: Health Protective Effects" (1999). Faculty Publications. 2482.