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PHYTONUTRIENTS: PLANT-BASED POWERHOUSES FOR YOUR HEALTH

July 17, 2017 by Renee Tavoularis

PHYTONUTRIENTS: PLANT-BASED POWERHOUSES FOR YOUR HEALTH

When the traditional “Food Pyramid” was first created, nutrition experts advised that fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals were the necessary building blocks of a healthy diet. Since then, we’ve since become aware of another group of nutrients that are absolutely necessary for optimal health: phytonutrients (also called “phytochemicals”). Phytonutrients are often found in the skins of the colorful fruits and vegetables we eat, and are the compounds responsible for their diverse array of hues, scents, and flavors.

It’s not news that plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds are “healthy.” But what has become recently clear is that phytonutrients may be the reason why these foods are so beneficial to our health. 

Food as medicine

In the plants where they are found, phytonutrients protect plants from pollutants and other environmental factors. Recent research has shown that their properties may also benefit human health. Phytonutrients protect our cells against unstable, reactive molecules known as “free radicals” that cause cell damage, and have also been associated with the prevention of heart disease, memory loss, cancer and skin damage. While more research continues to be done on the specific and wide range of benefits of these powerful plant-based compounds, we already know that they’re scientifically proven to be anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, and healthy aging promoting.  

Eat a Wide Range of Color

There are thousands of phytonutrients that are classified into different categories; best known are carotenoids, flavonoids, polyphenols, and isoflavones. Like other nutrients, different phytonutrients provide their own benefits. Additionally, phytonutrients can work in concert with each other to amplify their particular health benefits.

By making sure to eat a wide range of varied, colorful plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes and beans, teas, and spices), you are also providing your body with a broad range of phytonutrients to help protect yourself against inflammation, chronic disease and aging.

Getting to know the color groups

Most plant-based foods can be categorized into five basic color groups: blue/purple, red/pink, orange/yellow, green, and brown/white. Each color group is associated with a predominant set of phytonutrients, and a corresponding set of health benefits. We’ve split them up for you in a color group guide below to give you a sense of the colorful range of rich and diverse foods you should include in your diet each day.

Blue/Purple

  • Sources: blue/purple-skinned berries (acai, blueberry, elderberry), plums, red grapes, adzuki beans, black beans, eggplant
  • Health Benefits: cardiovascular health, neurological function, bone support

Red/Pink

  • Sources: red-skinned berries (raspberries, strawberries, cranberries), watermelon, cherries, pink grapefruit, pomegranate, red cabbage, red bell pepper, cayenne pepper, radishes, tomato
  • Health Benefits: urinary and prostate health, DNA protection and support

Orange/Yellow

  • Sources: oranges, tangerines, yellow grapefruit, cantaloupe, mango, nectarines, peaches, papaya, apricots, orange and yellow bell peppers, carrots, sweet potato, squash (acorn, butternut, delicate), corn, turmeric
  • Health Benefits: eye health, immune protection and support, skin hydration

Green

  • Sources: cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens (such as broccoli, kale, swiss chard, brussels sprouts, broccoli rabe, spinach, collard greens), herbs (like parsley, oregano and basil), green tea
  • Health Benefits: eye health, pulmonary health, arterial function, liver protection and support

Brown/White

  • Sources: apples, pears, navy beans, cannellini beans, white kidney beans, ginger, turnips, parsnips, cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms
  • Health Benefits: bone health, circulatory health, arterial function 

A full spectrum of skin benefits

Our internal body needs an array of nutrients and vitamins to perform at an optimal level, and so does our skin. Rich in phytonutrients that are biocompatible with our skin, our PLANTED IN BEAUTY products are able to penetrate its surface, where they can fight free radicals, improve blood flow and boost the production of collagen and elastin. Armed with these benefits, your skin is better prepared to combat the aging process, as well as inflammation and other skin conditions, leaving your skin looking vibrant and healthy. 

That’s why we’ve formulated a unique blend of antioxidant-rich phytonutrients from avocado, passionflower, acai, and mango in our Nourish + Protect Antioxidant Moisturizer. These ingredients work symbiotically to soothe inflammation, hydrate the complexion, revitalize cells and combat free radicals.

RECIPE

Inspired by a few of the phytonutrient-packed ingredients in our Nourish + Protect Antioxidant Moisturizer, try our Immune-Boosting Mango + Avocado Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette. This plant-powered salad is both nourishing and refreshing, pairing rich avocado with sweet mango slices for a balanced flavor and a side dish that delivers a range of colors and nutrients alike. The benefits are countless.
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