AREAS OF INTEREST: PHYTOCHEMICALS, CANCER PREVENTION, ANTIOXIDANTS, SOY, PHYTOESTROGENS.
by: Tom Seabourne Ph. D
Fruits and vegetables contain health-promoting, disease-busting chemicals. In fact, “Phyto” means plant. Phytochemicals are in salads, tomato sauce, and vegetable stir fry. Just about any vegetable contains some type of phytochemical.
Your backyard garden has some of the best protection against heart disease and cancer. You do not require a green thumb to grow tomatoes. Tomatoes have been shown to contain thousands of phytochemicals.
Lycopene, present in tomato sauce, is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help prevent heart disease, prostate, and stomach cancer.
Antioxidants can be likened to superheroes. They prevent free electrons from ravaging your system. Free electrons, commonly called free radicals, increase oxidation, “rusting” your organs. Antioxidants bind with free radicals and destroy them. In so doing, antioxidants themselves are sacrificed.
Another group of antioxidants is carotenes. Carotenes give carrots their orange color. Yams, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, peaches, cantaloupe, and apricots contain carotenes. Chives, leeks, onions, shallots, and garlic contain sulfides.
|If you can sidestep their pungent aroma, garlic and onions can aid in preventing stomach and colon cancer. Eating broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, turnips, watercress, kohlrabi, and cabbage is a natural way to reduce your risk of lung and stomach cancer.
Soy is a phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens suppress estrogen. Estrogen is hormone-dependent cancer. Soy may help prevent breast cancer and prostate cancer. Other soy foods include tempeh, miso, and tofu.
Green tea has a type of antioxidant called polyphenol. Polyphenols may be protective against stomach, skin, and lung cancer.
Vitamin E is probably the most well-known antioxidant. And vitamin E is also a phytochemical. Vegetable oils contain alpha-linoleic acid, a huge source of vitamin E. Vitamin E helps to defend against muscle cell membrane damage. If you perform hard labor or exercise, vitamin E helps manage muscle inflammation.
The latest research suggests we should attempt to get our phytochemicals and antioxidants from foods rather than pills. Supplement manufacturers have not as yet found a way to extract all of the possible benefits from phytochemicals and grind them into tablets.