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What Are Phytochemicals? - Definition, Foods, Benefits & Examples

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Instructor: John Koshuta
Phytochemicals are nutrients found in foods, such as vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. Explore the definition, foods that contain them, benefits, and examples of phytochemicals. Recognize the role that phytochemicals play in promoting good health. Updated: 10/13/2021

Definition of Phytochemicals

Plants use phytochemicals as a defense against potential threats which may include bacteria, viruses, and fungi. When we consume these plants as fruits and vegetables, these defenses are passed along to us in order to fight off threats to our health. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables contain the highest concentrations of phytochemicals, and may help us fight off diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

While hundreds of phytochemicals have been identified, research on this subject is still in the early stages. It is currently hypothesized that phytochemicals interfere with the processes that cause chronic diseases. For example, phytochemicals may prevent carcinogens, which are cancer-causing agents, from forming.

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  • 0:03 Definition of Phytochemicals
  • 0:50 Foods Containing…
  • 2:17 Benefits of Phytochemicals
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Foods Containing Phytochemicals

Fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans contain phytochemicals. The actions of phytochemicals vary by color and type. Let's talk about some phytochemicals, where they are found, and how they benefit health:

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