There are four main categories of phytochemicals: carotenoids, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and allium compounds:
- Carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein protect fat cells, blood, and other bodily fluids from free radicals. They can be found in apricots, mangoes, papayas, watermelon, spinach, sweet potatoes, corn, red peppers, romaine lettuce, and tomatoes, to name a few sources.
- Flavonoids such as resveratrol, hesperidin, anthocyanin, quercetin, and tangeritin act against inflammation and prevent platelets from sticking together. They also block the enzymes that raise blood pressure. They can be found in vitamin-C-rich foods such as apples, cherries, blueberries, grapefruit, oranges, plums, strawberries, broccoli, and kale.
- Ellagic acid decreases cholesterol levels and is found in strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, kiwifruit, raspberries, currants, and red grapes. Strawberries especially have been found in studies to inhibit certain enzymes, reducing the inflammation process in the arteries.
- Allium compounds protect the cardiovascular and immune systems. They are found in onions, scallions, leeks, chives, and garlic.