phytochemicals Phytochemicals

Tips to increase your intake of phyto-chemicals

To maintain health, it is important to take at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables. Studies have shown that the intake of fruits and vegetables increases antioxidant capacity and improve immunity. These easy (and almost free) tips can help you to increase your daily intake of phyto chemicals from herbs, fruits and vegetables:

Tip 1: Eat at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables.

The World Health Organisation recommends that we eat daily at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables. This 5 PLUS a day strategy is adopted by many countries. The 5 PLUS a day message is the most successful health promotion idea because research has shown that eating at least five portions of fruits and vegetables each day could reduce cancer rates by 20 percent.

Tip 2: Eat more tomato ketchup

You should use tomato ketchup as condiment on your meals instead of mayonnaise. Not only does ketchup contain a lot less calories, it is rich in the phytochemical lycopene. However, you should check that it is real ketchup made from tomatoes and does not contain colourings. Lycopene is found in fresh tomatoes but cooking breaks down the cell wall and increase the availability of lycopene. Research indicates that lycopene and tomato products lower the risk of some cancers and heart diseases.

Tip 3: Eat the albedo of citrus fruis

Whenever you eat or press citrus fruits, you should also eat the albedo, which is the white part of the citrus fruit. You should not eat the coloured part, which tastes very better and could be contaminated with pesticides. Albedo tastes quite neutral and sweet. The orange flesh and juice are also healthy and loaded with vitamin C, but the albedo is very rich in pectin and the phytochemicals limonin and glucarates. The pectin of the albedo lowers your cholesterol, curbs appetite and suppresses your hunger for a few hours. The albedo is also rich in vitamin C.

Tip 4: Increase soy consumption

Soy is packed with healthy ingredients: omega-3 fatty acids, cholesterol reducing proteins and minerals. The main phytochemical in soy is isoflavone, which improves bone health, reduces risk of certain cancers and reduces menopausal symptoms.

Tip 5: Drink herbal teas

Reduce your intake of coffee and soft drinks and increase the intake of herbal tea, including ordinary tea. Today there is a large selection of teas available: camomile, linden, sage, green teas, etc.

Tip 6: Eat dried fruits as snack

You should substitute your candy and snacks with dried fruits such as prunes, apricots, dades and raisins.

Tip 7: Add herbs and spices to your meals

Spices and herbs do not only add flavour to your meals but many are loaded with phyto chemicals. Try to add following herbs and spices: parsley, sage, thyme, oregano, basil, etc.

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