We hear about Phytochemicals – they’re good for us..I think. What are they? Aren’t chemicals bad?
Mother nature makes chemical compounds, not all chemicals are made in a lab. Phytochemicals is another word for phytonutrients.
Phyto – means “Plant” in Greek – so phytonutrients are the compounds found in plants that are healing and nutritious for the human body.
Your body has trillions of cells, each with a set of tasks to perform, and most of these cells are reproducing all the time. We are literally building a new body – new skin and hair, new liver cells, new blood and muscle cells – what are you building this new body out of? Would you put red food coloring in your printer and expect it to print? Would you put diesel in a car that takes gas and expect it to go very far? How far can you get if your car has no water?
Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats and water are the macronutrients we need on a daily basis. Vitamins and minerals and various phytonutrients are the micronutrients we need every day. We need smaller amounts but they are essential for our cells to be able to reproduce and perform their tasks optimally.
Food that comes direct from Mother Nature, with minimal intervention and interruption from humans, is loaded with these valuable compounds. Nature gives us the right ingredients in the right amounts (many nutrients require other nutrients to make them assimilable). Food made by man is usually denatured and stripped of many of the necessary ingredients, it is no longer whole and therefore lacks some of the essential things that we need to absorb the few good things that are left intact.
Years ago, we were told that the healthy nutrient in carrots was called beta-carotene. Then companies started chemically isolating beta-carotene and putting it in pills. It took a few years before we discovered that isolated beta-carotene could actually be harmful to your health. Our “health” system keeps repeating this experiment with nutrient after nutrient instead of just trusting Mother Nature.
We need to eat LOTS of WHOLE foods every day to get all the things we need. If we have a balanced diet of whole foods, lots of different things, then we are giving ourselves the best shot of getting a little bit of everything and not too much of anything. Different colored foods have different phytochemicals and you need them ALL, so choose a rainbow of color.