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Phytochemicals/Phytonutrients

Phytochemicals are plant based chemicals that protect against free radicals. They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties essential for the health of your body and brain. They also help decrease cellular damage. Foods rich in Phytochemicals tend to be brightly colored fruits and vegetables, like berries, sweet potatoes, red peppers, tomatoes, red grapes and greens like spinach and broccoli. You will also find phytochemicals in dark chocolate, coffee, tea (green and black), nuts, dried beans, soy and garlic.

 

Blueberries


For quite a long time, healthcare professionals and scientists didn't give the little blueberry its due, since it had relatively low vitamin C content when compared with other fruit. Then it was discovered that the blueberry was a nutrition powerhouse, a superfood loaded with phytonutrients and a fruit that had benefits unlike any other.

With their powerful antioxidant protection, blueberries can improve nighttime vision, promote quicker adjustment to darkness and promote faster restoration of visual clarity after exposure to glare. Researchers have also identified a compound in blueberries that helps to reduce the risk of infection.

Strawberries


Not only do strawberries have phytonutrients, they contain a great deal of Vitamin C, Potassium, and folic acid.

 

Fun Facts:

  • The seeds on Strawberries are actually called akenes.
  • There are about 200 akenes on each strawberry
  • Strawberries are part of the rose family
  • California provides about 85% of the nation's strawberries
  • Native Americans once called blueberries "star berries," because the five points of blueberry blossoms make a star shape.
  • Blueberry juice had medicinal value for Native Americans as well and was used to treat persistent coughs and other illnesses.
  • Blueberries are one of the only natural foods that are truly blue in color.



Stephanie Brooks, MS, RD Copyright(c) 2013 Bay Area Nutrition, LLC