Where to find phytochemicals

It is important to eat a variety of foods to get the most out of the phytochemical benefits. Below issome helpful information for the next time you go food shopping. Like I mentioned last week, there are some tongue-twisters. Flavonoids (such as anthocyanins and quercetin) may inhibit inflammation and tumor growth, aid in immunity and boost production of detoxifying enzymes in the body, help fight oxidation and blood clots. You can find them in apples, citrus fruits, cranberries, grapes, broccoli, celery, onions, chocolate, plums, soybeans and soy products, red wine coffee and tea. Carotenoids (such as beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthine) help fight oxidation, inhibit cancer cell growth, improve immune response, concentrate in the macula of the eye, where their yellow color filters blue light and reduces the oxidation that can damage the retina and lead to blindness. Beta-carotene helps to regulate the natural cycle of cell birth and death, telling cells when to divide, differentiate into new types or recycle themselves. Keeping this process under tight control can prevent cancer. You can find them in brightly colored red, orange and green fruits and vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, apricots, cantaloupe, oranges, watermelon, dark green leafy vegetables, peppers and tomatoes. Allyl sulfides may help to reduce blood cholesterol levels and help the liver detoxify cancer promoting chemicals. You can find them in chives, garlic, leeks and onions. Isothiocyanantes may block carcinogens from damaging a cell’s DNA. You can find them in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Indoles and Glucosinolates (such as sulforaphane) may convert estrogen into less cancer-promoting form of the hormone, induce detoxification of carcinogens, block carcinogens and prevent tumor growth. You can find them in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, kale, brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Terpenes (such as perillyl alcohol, limonene, carnosol) may protect cells from becoming cancerous, slow cancer cell growth, strengthen immune function, limit production of cancer- related hormones, and fight viruses. You can find them in citrus fruit peels, rosemary and cherries. Isoflavones may block the entry of estrogen into cells which may reduce the risk of breast or ovarian cancers and may also help alleviate menopausal symptoms. You can find them in soy beans and soy products. Inositol (such as phytic acid) may retard cancer cell growth and work as an antioxidant. You can find them from corn, oats, rice, rye and wheat, nuts, soybeans and soy products. Polyphenols (such as ellagic acid and resveratrol) may prevent cancer formation, prevent inflammation and work as antioxidants. You can find them in green tea, grapes, wine, berries, citrus fruits, apples, whole grains and peanuts. That’s all for this year. Wishing you a holiday season filled with special warmth and friendship. See you in 2008 when we will work on our veggies.

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