Why Phytonutrients Are So Important for Healthy Skin
Quercetin, Ellagic Acid, Resveratrol, And Others: Powerful Phytonutrients
While you hear a lot about certain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, and selenium, there are other compounds that also function as powerful antioxidants. There are many less well-known compounds that have been isolated from foods, tested in the lab, and found to have powerful disease-fighting abilities. These include polyphenols, glucosinolates, flavonoids, and others.
These are all phytonutrients, and they pack an impressive punch, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities.
Phytonutrients Protect Plants, And They Protect You
Phytonutrients are compounds that are naturally found in plants. They’re not essential (in the way that vitamins are), but the more we learn about their properties, the more important they seem to have a role in maintaining health and fighting disease in the human body. These compounds protect plants from the sun, heat, insects, and other threats. They also protect the plants from the oxidative stress that results from photosynthesis. These protective properties are the main reasons why these compounds function as great antioxidants.
The more we study these compounds, the more we find that they have other powers as well: fighting inflammation, promoting detoxification enzymes, and others. When you eat these plants, you’re eating the same protective chemicals that are protecting these plants from damage.
While you may hear about certain foods as great sources of certain phytonutrients, it’s important to remember that one plant may contain literally hundreds of different compounds, including compounds from different classes. Research has shown that synergy comes into play also, with different compounds acting together to produce stronger benefits. This provides yet another reason to focus on the benefits of foods as opposed to just single nutrients.