Phytochemicals and Immunity

Phytochemicals have been shown to have an important impact on your immune function and overall well-being. However, many people are unaware that they exist. Unlike superfoods, antioxidants, and other well-publicized health-promoting foods, phytochemicals have received little attention from the media. Therefore, they are often overlooked, even by those who are eager to give their health a much-needed boost.

In fact, phytochemicals have been researched for decades, but it’s only recently that they’ve been studied in humans. Yet, findings have shown that these naturally occurring plant chemicals could have a major positive effect on your well-being and immunity. So, it’s definitely worth finding out more about them and how you can add them to your daily diet. This will promote your immune system’s function and help it to keep you protected from harm.

What are Phytochemicals?

Phytochemicals are plant chemicals that occur naturally and, when consumed, have been shown to interact with the immune system on every level and support it effectively. Phytochemicals have even been shown to inhibit cancer at each stage of its development, stopping new cancer cells from forming, inhibiting their growth, and removing the toxins that can cause them.

They can even influence the gene activity that is involved in the development of cancer and suppress the hormones that have been shown to stimulate the growth of certain types of cancer. With this in mind, it’s important to be aware of the most beneficial phytochemicals that you could be adding to your daily intake.

The Most Beneficial Phytochemicals

There are several types of phytochemicals that have been shown to be highly beneficial for your immunity. These bioactive chemicals have been proven to slow down and halt cancer progression by inhibiting cell division, altering gene expression, reducing inflammation and free radical damage, and inhibiting the blood supply to tumors.

Quercetin is one frequently studied flavonoid. It can be found in green tea. It blocks the production of hormone receptors, growth factors, and other components known to promote cancer growth. Some other foods that contain phytochemicals that can be beneficial for your immune system include avocados, cranberries, and pomegranates.

Phytochemicals and Immunity

Cranberries contain a number of phytochemicals including polyphenols, flavanol glycosides, proanthocyanidins, phenolic acids, and anthocyanins. These compounds can reduce the load on your immune system, helping to keep you safe from illnesses.

Meanwhile, avocados are a rich source of carotenoids, and pomegranates are packed with ellagic acid and hydrolyzable ellagitannins, both of which are polyphenols.

Black tea and garlic have also been shown to be beneficial phytochemicals. Garlic contains organoselenium metabolites while black tea contains polyphenols like epigallocatechin-3- gallate.

Eating foods that are a range of colors is one of the best ways to benefit from phytochemicals in your diet. Red foods like tomatoes contain lycopene, green food like broccoli contains glucosinolates, and onion and garlic contain allyl sulfides. All of these compounds are known to boost immunity exponentially, so you should try every day to make sure that you include foods of several colors in your meals to give yourself the best chance of achieving optimal immunity.

Images courtesy of:
congerdesign, Ralf , Pixabay

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Phytochemicals and Immunity

Part 3 of Immune Food Solution Series
Pam Byc
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