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Phytochemicals: The Healing Foods of Our Time
By Michelle Berman   View more articles by this author
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October 26

There has been much talk about health foods, organic foods, low-fat foods, raw foods, unprocessed foods, and chemically treated foods over this past decade.  It is no wonder that the general public is being bombarded with information and often times finds it difficult to discern fact from fiction.  The newest class of foods that is “all the rage” is the neutraceutical or phytochemical class of foods that appear to have anti-cancer, anti-aging and heart protective properties.

There are a multitude of foods found in each category (anti-cancer, anti-aging and heart protection) but the ones I will discuss in this article are the “Top Ten” special anti-cancer phytochemicals.

  1. FLAX:  contains lignins and is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids.  It can be found in the form of seeds, ground or oil.  Best if used ground and not whole seeds for the most potent effect.  Suggested dose=3 tlb. per day.
  2. SOY:  contains isoflavones which are high in phyotchemical compounds.  Found in tofu and veggie burger, edamame and soy based products such as milk and cheese. 
  3. WHEAT GERM:  found in a jar in the cereal section of your neighborhood grocery store.  Contains phytates which have been shown to reduce certain cancers.  This product is wonderful sprinkled in cereals, on berries, yogurt or in smoothies.
  4. BROCCOLI:  a vegetable that most children are known to love.  Steam it, bake it, broil it, puree it, grill it, stir-fry it or eat it raw.  It is a cruciferous vegetable, as is cauliflower, and has isothiocyanates, dithiolthiones, and indoles as their phytochemical components.
  5. TOMATOES:  contain lycopenes and are most potent in their phytochemical form when broken down, such as when found in tomato sauce, salsa and tomato paste.  They are also rich in gamma carotenes.
  6. CARROTS:  contain phtalides and polyacetylenes and are very high in Vitamin A which is one of our favorite vitamins loaded with beta-carotene.  If you buy a juicer, there is nothing more refreshing than a glass of apple-carrot juice in the middle of the day to boost your energy and nutrition.
  7. TANGERINES:  all citrus fruits are not alike.  The tangerine is very high in phytochemical properties known as limonoids and beta-cryptoxanthin.  Tangerine-orange juice can be mixed at home or bought in the store to boost your phytochemicals and Vitamin C.
  8. STRAWBERRIES:  contain ellagic acid which has very powerful phytochemical properties.  The seeds also contribute fiber and the fruit gives us Vitamin C.  Berries are a great way to flavor your favorite cereal or just eat alone for a nutritious snack.
  9. GREEN TEA:  has received wide acclaim for the antioxidant properties it has.  It also contains catechins and is readily available at supermarkets and most shops which stock teas.
  10. GARLIC:  Years ago in ancient Italy garlic was thought to have medicinal properties. When someone got sick, they would wear garlic around their neck to ward off evil spirits and get well.  While I don’t suggest wearing garlic, I do suggest adding it to your soups and sauces, vegetables and using it as a staple in your diet.  It contains allicin which has powerful phytochemical properties.

So here you have them, the top ten foods to add to your diet and enhance your phytochemical intake on a daily basis.  Be creative and find new and innovative ways to use these foods and beverages as stables in your every day life.

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