There are thousands of different Phytochemicals and they all have their own unique functions within the plant; some regulate the growth of the plant, some help to protect the plant from germs, fungi and insects, and others give the plants their flavor, color and texture, for example. And it is these same Phytochemicals that have also been found to have many various healing functions within the human body, after we consume the food.
Many Phytochemicals are strong antioxidants, which help protect our bodies from Free Radicals. Free Radicals can be either generated in the human body during the normal functioning of the bodies processes (like during the burning of sugars for energy and the release of digestive enzymes to break down food), or when our bodies interact with pollution (such as car exhaust, heavy metals and cigarette smoke), and also when the body breaks down certain medicines. Free Radicals are known to cause disease and aging in the body, so having a daily intake of Phytochemicals can help to keep our bodies protected from damage.
Some Phytochemicals have potent Anti-Cancer activity, blocking cell division and helping to rid our bodies of carcinogens. Other Phytochemicals protect us against Heart Disease by reducing cholesterol production, blood pressure, blood clot formation, and damage to blood vessel walls. Many Phytochemicals also have powerful Anti-Inflammatory qualities, while others are Immunity Enhancing.
Each Color of Fruit and Vegetable represents a different class of Phytochemicals, so it is important to eat a wide range of colorful plant food to ensure you are receiving the full spectrum of Phytochemicals and all of their various functions.
There are certain foods known to have the highest amounts of Phytochemicals, and these are dark leafy greens (Kale, Collards, and Spinach), cruciferous vegetables (especially broccoli), garlic, tomatoes, blueberries, and citrus fruits. So make sure to stock up on these foods….
You should also aim to eat at least one food from each of the following Color Groups every day to ensure you are getting a wide range of phytochemicals. Here are the Colors with some Fruit and Vegetable examples….