Phytochemicals are present in foods, although they are not appropriate nutrients. They are not macronutrients either.

The phytochemical They are present in foods, although they are not appropriate nutrients. These are also not macronutrients, nor do they belong to the family of minerals or vitamins. Therefore, its energy and nutritional function is zero. Even in this case, they promote various functions of the body.

That is why foods containing phytochemicals are called functional foods. And, although they have no nutritional value, they offer a range of health benefits.

What are the phytochemicals for?

The vast majority of them brings a variety of qualities to food, organoleptic or sensory. These are substances that bring color, taste and smell to the dishes. In addition, consumption of phytochemicals brings a series of benefits for the physical and mental health that it is interesting to know.

Carotenoids are components of pro-vitamin A and their functions are therefore very similar to those of this nutrient. They take great care of eye health while improving bone health and promoting milk production during breastfeeding.

The phenols and terpenes These are two types of phytochemicals with antioxidant functions. Thus, they are very beneficial in inflammatory processes, while reducing the risk of suffering from diseases such as angina pectoris, stroke or myocardial infarction, among others. They also play a very beneficial role in maintaining the immune system.

What types are there

  • PhenolsThey are divided into three subgroups: flavonoids, phenolic acids and non-flavonoid polyphenols.
  • terpenes: are classified as carotenoids and not carotenoids.
  • thiolsThey are also called sulfur compounds because of their high sulfur content. There are three subgroups: organosulfur compounds, glucosinalates and indoles.
  • tocopherols: many of them act in the same way as vitamin E.

There is no specific recommendation on the use of phytochemicals. Even in this case, it is advisable to promote the consumption of foods of high vegetable origin in these substances. The ideal is to take five daily servings of fruits and vegetables. In addition, it is recommended to take whole grains and legumes two or three times a week.

Taking vegetable oils, such as extra virgin olive oil, is also advisable. The ideal is to consume these oils in oils to better leverage the substances present.

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