Phytonutrients & Polyphenols: Let Food Be Thy Medicine!

Phytonutrients and Polyphenols

1. What are Phytonutrients?

Phytonutrients are beneficial chemicals/compounds found in plants (including fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, coffee/teas, and veggies). They often have benefits that promote plant health and vitality and can benefit human health and vitality in turn when consumed/used appropriately. Phytonutrients are not essential for human life, but can help prevent and reduce many health ailments and diseases and optimize physical and mental health functioning.

Stated another way, phytonutrients, or phytochemicals, are compounds present in food that have the capacity to alter biochemical reactions and consequently affect human health. 

2. What are Polyphenols? 

Polyphenols are a specific group of antioxidant phytonutrients that generally give plant foods their color(s) and have particularly potent and positive health benefits for humansThere are over 25,000 different phytonutrients found in plant foods, each with different properties and associated foods and food colors. The images below provide examples of a variety of foods that are high in a variety of different kinds of polyphenols with a variety of different health benefits.

3. Polyphenols in the Diet: Let Food be Thy Medicine. 

Working with a nutritionist or health coach can be helpful in identifying micronutrient deficiencies and specific ways to use food to cure a variety of physical and mental health ailments. With a PhD in Biomedical Science and Neuroscience and Postdoctorate Training in Complementary and Integrative Health, Dr. Bray combines Western Medicine approaches and more Traditionally Eastern Naturopathic Approaches to help you meet your health goals. This often includes a food and micronutrient assessment and working to incorporate specific foods into the diet to utilize their medicinal properties.

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