You’ve probably heard the words phytochemicals and phytonutrients but do you know what they really are or why they are important? The both terms have the same beginning and that is because both words refer to plants, so phytochemicals are plant chemicals and phytonutrients are plant nutrients but the two are often used interchangeably.
Phytochemicals and phytonutrients both refer to a wide variety of compounds in plant foods that provide health benefits beyond those of traditional vitamins and minerals. You might recognize words like antioxidants, carotenoids or flavonoids all of which are a category of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are thought to help in the prevention of heart disease and several forms of cancer along with the promotion of bone and skin health so including them in your diet is important to your overall health.
Fruits and vegetables can easily fit into any meal or snack so take advantage of fall produce to vary your diet and promote your health. Learn more about phytochemicals by visiting Fruits and Veggies More Matters at - http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/what-are-phytochemicals
Connie Diekman, M.ED., RD, CSSD, LD
Directory of University Nutrition