Phytochemicals–They’re Good for You

In addition to vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals, which are compounds providing color, aroma, texture and flavor to plant-based foods. Phytochemicals help reduce the risk of many diseases.

More than 2,000 phytochemicals are plant pigments, which provide a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Just remember, the darker the color, the more phytochemicals and health benefits of a fruit or vegetable. For example, spinach will have more phytochemicals and health benefits than iceberg lettuce.

Color Phytochemical Health Benefit Examples
Red Lycopene May reduce the risk of prostate cancer Tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, berries, cherries, red apples, beets, red cabbage
Orange/Yellow Beta Carotene Reduces risk for heart disease; boosts immune system; helps maintain good eyesight Apricots, pumpkin, mangos, sweet potatoes, oranges
Blue/Purple Anthocyanins May help reduce risk of heart disease and gastrointestinal track cancer; anti-inflammatory properties Blueberries, eggplant, plums, raisins, purple grapes
White Allicin May help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing risk of heart disease; may reduce risk of stomach cancer Garlic, onions, leeks
White Sulphoraphane Possible role in inhibiting cancer growth Cauliflower, jicama, parsnips, banana
Green Lutein May help reduce risk for cataracts and age-related macular degeneration Spinach, kale, peas, Brussels sprouts, kiwifruit, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, green grapes

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