Wed | Jun 23, 2021

Phytomins for Good Health

Published:Thursday | April 26, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Heather Little-White, PhD

Staying healthy requires adopting an approach that will ensure that what you eat will contribute to the total good of your body. It is the age when you can pop a pill to boost your health through nutrients provided in an easy-to-swallow form. While pills are convenient, it is better to get your phytomins from whole foods through a diet rich in grains, peas, beans, ground provisions, fruits and vegetables.

In addition to minerals and vitamins, phytomins in whole foods are highly powerful in reducing the risk of diabetes, cancers, hypertension, heart disease and obesity. Eating a balanced meal is encouraged as the combination of foods will tap into full power of phyto-chemicals. The richness of fruits and vegetables must also be considered as important in meal planning.

Grandma's advice

Phytochemicals are recognised for reducing the risk of cancers, arresting their development at a very early stage, reducing tumour production, enhancing protective enzymes and reducing hormone-related cancers. Grandma's advice to "eat your vegetables" is still applicable in today's nutrition.

There are a wide range of phyto-chemicals which have been linked to specific health benefits:

❑ Lung-cancer prevention is associated with the consumption of carrots and green leafy vegetables.

❑ Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower reduce the risk of colon cancer.

❑ Fruits reduce the risk of cancers of the throat, mouth, larynx and oesophagus.

❑ Lettuce and onions reduce the risk of stomach cancer.

❑ Garlic, considered a super-food, reduces the risk of at least six types of cancers.

Phytomins will co-exist in abundance in natural and whole foods, compared to supplements.

Allyl Sulfides

Known for lowering 'bad' cholesterol and reducing the risk of stomach and colon cancers.

Found in garlic, chives and scallion

Alpha-carotene

Increases vitamin A, boosts immune system, reduces the risk of heart disease and lung cancer.

Found in carrots and seaweed.

Anthocyanins

Cures and reduces the risk of urinary-tract infection.

Found in cranberry juice, not juice drink.

Beta-carotene

Attributed to reducing the risk of lung, skin, bladder and gynaecological cancers as well as boosting the immune system.

Found in carrots, red, yellow and dark-green leafy vegetables, and pumpkin.

Capsaicin

Known as an anti-inflammatory agent and is used for the treatment of bronchitis and colds.

Sources: chilli peppers

Carnosol

Slows the development of some tumours, alters the metabolism of lipids and prevents fats from oxidising and damaging cells.

Found in rosemary

Genistein

A powerful phytooestrogen that may protect against breast cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease and menopausal changes.

Source: soybean products

Limonenes

Helpful in reducing cancers especially in gastrointestinal tract and pancreatic cancers.

Found in citrus fruits

Lycopene

An antioxidant known to reduce the risk of colon and bladder cancers.

Found in tomatoes, red grapefruit, watermelon.

Phytic acid

May reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Found in rye, wheat, rice, beans, sesame seed, peanuts.

Polyphenols

Traps toxic chemicals and flushes them out of the body thereby reducing the risk of cancers.

Found in red grapes and red wine, strawberries, yams.

Saponins

May slow the spread of cancer cells in the colon and may prevent cancer cells from spreading.

Found in kidney beans, chick-peas, soybeans, lentils.

Save the pulp!

Phytomins are disease-fighting naturally-occurring substances found in fruits and vegetables. When you juice fruits and vegetables, save the pulp as you could lose close to half of the vitamins and phytomins. To overcome this problem, and if you want to drink your vegetables, use a powerful juicer that pulverises the pulp into the juice.