What Sounds Complicated is Actually Simple
Unless you have your healthy head in the sand, you have probably heard of Phytonutrients or Phytochemicals. What in the world does that mean? Phyto is Greek and means plants. So, Phytochemicals or Phytonutrients are words to describe healthy ingredients in plant-based foods. See, it’s simple. And it’s more than that.
They’re Good for You!
Eat your vegetables! Yeah, I know you’ve heard that before – probably from your mother encouraging you to eat your greens as a child. Nope, you’re not a child anymore, and you are hopefully a healthy adult faithfully eating your greens since you know how important it is to have those nutrients in your diet. What Mom may not have told you is that you can get important nutrients from veggies and other plant-based foods that are not greens. In fact, many of them are white. How about that?
Lessons from Linda
Linda Armada, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Diabetes Center at North Florida Regional Medical Center, offers some great insight into why phytochemicals are so important to our diet. She explains that these compounds can help increase the body’s ability to fight infections and cancer; some may even lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Armada also explains that these important compounds are often found in white fruits and vegetables. A few phytochemical-rich foods include cauliflower, onions, bananas, garlic, potatoes, pears, corn and squash.
Here are a few thoughts just to get you going.
- Start your day with a cup of hot green tea and some mixed berries-strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. They are a great combo, and all are rich in antioxidants, a type of phytochemical.
- Try making a quinoa salad with white beans, corn and chopped onions, which can be served cold or hot.
- For dinner, try grilled chicken and onions, a tossed salad, sweet potatoes and cauliflower.
If you’re interested in more information about phytochemicals, click here. Next time you’re reaching for a healthy snack, don’t forget that it doesn’t have to be green!