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

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  • 0:03 Definition of Phytochemicals
  • 0:50 Foods Containing…
  • 2:17 Benefits of Phytochemicals
  • 2:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: John Koshuta
We have been told for years to eat our fruits and vegetables. One reason is that phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables positively impact health. This lesson covers the benefits of phytochemicals and some examples of foods containing phytochemicals.

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.

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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