Advertisement

What foods are good sources of phytochemicals?

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD
Internal Medicine
Even the most humble fruits and vegetables are replete with phytochemicals -- chemical substances made by plants that affect their taste, color, scent, and other properties. The searing bite of hot peppers, the pungent whiff of garlic, the deep orange hue of carrots, and the red blush on tomatoes all owe a tip of the hat to different phytochemicals -- in these instances, capsaicin, organosulfur compounds, and the carotenoids alpha carotene and lycopene. Spices, oils, wine, tea, and other plant-derived foods and beverages also contain a variety of phytochemicals, including flavonoids. Although plants develop phytochemicals partly as a defense against predators, some of these substances appear to be beneficial for people. Experts believe these substances might explain the many health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, and perhaps nuts, whole grains, vegetables oils, and even dark chocolate.

Continue Learning about Antioxidants

Use This High-Antioxidant Spice in Hot Drinks
Use This High-Antioxidant Spice in Hot Drinks
Next time you cozy up with a hot mug of something special, consider tossing in a spice that's bursting with antioxidants: cloves. It makes mulled cid...
Read More
How does turmeric work as an antioxidant?
Sunita MohanSunita Mohan
Turmeric is the main spice in Ayurvedic cooking. It contains the flavonoid curcumin, which has anti-...
More Answers
How do antioxidants reduce inflammation?
Shawn Talbott, PhDShawn Talbott, PhD
Antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids, which give fruits and veggies their bright color, can ...
More Answers
3 Antioxidant-Rich Vegetables
3 Antioxidant-Rich Vegetables

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.