I’m sure you’ve all heard of vitamins and minerals, the nutrients found in food essential for good health. What you may not know is that food also contains other chemical components thought to promote health known as phytochemicals and zoochemicals.
So what are these chemical wonders and how can they help me?
Science is continuing to uncover more and more components of food that are physiologically active. This means that they interact with other chemicals or systems in the body and although they are not deemed essential in the diet, they can provide us with significant health benefits. Studies have shown that diets rich in fruit and vegetables show a reduced risk of cancer, thus fruit and vegetables are thought to contain phytochemicals that block the development of cancer. Research is still a long way off in terms of fully understanding how these chemicals work and interact with the body, however, because current multi-vitamin and mineral supplements contain little or none of these chemicals, nutritionists always recommend the importance of meeting your bodies needs through a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains, legumes and nuts, instead of swallowing a pill everyday.
Although supplements may be helpful for some individuals to meets certain nutrient requirements, don’t be tempted to take a supplement as a substitute for a healthy diet. Your body will benefit far more from whole fresh foods than a supplement based on limited nutritional knowledge. There is so much about food we have yet to discover.
Here are some great articles on how you can include more vegetables in your diet and reap the benefits of what phytochemicals have to offer.