ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Are Phytonutrients and What Can They Do For You?

Updated on January 23, 2011
A great example of carotenoids.
A great example of carotenoids.

It seems every day there is new information about the foods we eat and their benefits. One thing that has been discovered in the past few years is phytonutrients. Have you ever heard of phytonutrients? I hadn’t until recently, but I love what I have found. It turns out there is more to our food than just how much Vitamin C there is in an apple or how lean a piece of meat is.

The foods we eat are made up of many different things. I am sure you have heard of vitamins and minerals – the most common way we determine a food’s benefits. Phytonutrients are just as important and just as good for you as vitamins and minerals, but they are different. You can measure how good a food is for you by looking at the vitamins and minerals it provides our bodies AND the types of phytonutrients it provides our bodies.

There are thousands of phytonutrients in the plants we eat. Phytonutrients are not absolutely essential to life, so they aren't measured quite the same as vitamins and minerals. But research has shown that these nutrients are extremely beneficial to our bodies. Phytonutrients are particularly valuable to our cells. They help our cells communicate with each other, help prevent mutations in the cells and act as an anti-inflammatory in our bodies.  Essentially, phytonutrients help undo the damage we do to our bodies each day.

There are three types of phytonutrients worth mentioning: polyphenols, carotenoids, and phytoestrogens.. Each one does something different for our bodies. Polyphenols act as antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and anti-allergenics. (tea, nuts, berries) Carotenoids are pigments that act as antioxidants, such as lycopene, lutein, and beta-carotein.  Carotenoids are found in red and yellow foods such as carrots, tomatoes and pumpkin and help protect us from cancer as well as have anti-aging properties. Phytoestrogens are found in plants such as soy, wheat and grains and help prevent hormone based cancers, boost our immune systems and repair damage done to our DNA from smoking or other toxic behaviors.

So how can you make sure that you get enough phytonutrients?  Make sure you eat enough fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds.  All of these foods come from plants and plants are full of phytonutrients.  Nutritionists have been telling us for years to eat more fruits and vegetables and I am finally starting to believe them.  Our bodies will be so much healthier and last so much longer if we feed it the right foods - foods full of vitamins, minerals AND phytonutrients.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      That was interesting to read and an eye opener. Thank you for putting together all these information.

    • BlissfulWriter profile image


      7 years ago

      That's right. And make sure you eat a variety of different colors of fruits and vegetables. Some refer to this as the "rainbow diet". Different colors is an indication of the different types of phytonutrients in the fruits and vegetables.

      The phytonutrients in the fruits and vegetables are even better than man-made supplements because our bodies through evolution has evolved to be able to more readily absorb the form that comes from the foods that produced them.

    • medor profile image


      7 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Very nicely explained... thanks.. I have taught Nutrition for decades and this is a new concept that actually was incorporated into the Vitamin and Mineral catagories but now can be seperated out... bravo... good clean way to explain this ofte complicated information


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)