We are surrounded by hundreds of types of fruits, vegetables, and a variety of whole grains. This type of food is rich in vitamins, minerals, and many important essential substances - commonly called phytochemicals (chemicals naturally present in plants) which are of particular importance for maintaining good health, as well as for the prevention of many diseases.
Phytochemicals consumed separately or in combination have shown to be useful in the prevention of cancer and in the treatment of side effects associated with this disease. Recently, several studies have been conducted that examine the possibility of using these substances to improve the effectiveness of cancer treatment.
Phytochemicals have also shown to be helpful in preventing heart disease and controlling diabetes. It is very important to say that the positive effect we can get from these substances is created without having any side effects or toxicity.
Numerous scientific studies on diets have shown consistent results in terms of long, healthy, and functional life. In countries where people are practicing a plant-based diet (over 60% of the diet is of plant origin), the population lives longer, healthier, and more functional.
How do phytochemicals help prevent malignancies and treatment?
As time passes by, with a lot of research in this area, we get extensive data about the mechanism by which malignant diseases develop (or the mechanism by which normal cells are transformed into malignant). In other words, we are better understanding the hallmarks of cancer creation. Animal cell research and initial human cell research have shown that several plant phytochemicals have the ability to target and modulate or modify these 'features' of cancer and reduce or reverse the process of cancer formation and its symptoms.
Which are the 'super vegetables and fruits'?
The following fruits and vegetables should be present in our daily lives: oranges, kiwis, raspberries, blackberries, tropical fruits, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, peas, onions, garlic, etc. This fresh food is rich in phytochemicals, and also in various other micronutrients.
How much fruit and vegetables are enough?
The low-calorie value and rich micronutrient composition allow us almost unlimited intake. It is difficult to ingest too much, but we must mention that the presence of carbs can also be a problem for people diagnosed with diabetes, and can contribute to weight gain.
Less than 24% of the entire population consumes more than 5 fruits and vegetables a day, and children consume even less. We should take more than 5 different types, on a daily basis, in order to prevent several conditions and to meet the body needs. Consuming juices or popularly called 'shakes' can also be a good practice, but in that case, we should take care of the calorie intake.
How can our bodies get the phytochemicals?
The best way for the body to get these nutrients is by the fresh food in which they are present, to be eaten as it is, fresh, of course after a proper wash.
Vapor cooking is the second-best option. Cooking (boiling, frying, baking) vegetables and fruits can destroy up to 60% of phytochemicals. Skin peeling should also be avoided to maximize phytochemicals' performance.
It is best to make different combinations of fresh fruits or vegetables with different colors, textures, shapes, and sizes. This will provide a greater feeling of satiety (and fewer calories consumed) and will reduce the need for fatty foods, and also will provide the body with the necessary micronutrients.Disclaimer: The purpose of this text is to stimulate critical health thinking. Medical information does not amount to advice and if advice is needed an appropriate professional help should be asked. No warranties or representations are given in respect of the medical information, and the website operator should not be held liable if a user suffers any injury or loss after relying upon the medical information.