We all know that healthy foods, consumed routinely over our lifetime, bodes well for a lifetime of health. We read a lot about crude protein, fats, carbohydrates and sugars. However, what is often left out in the healthy food discussion is the critical topic of phytonutrients. Healthy, nutritious foods should be comprised of more than a thousand phytonutrients that are crucial to our overall health and well-being.
Let’s look at the basics of phytonutrients and what they mean to our bodies and their impact on life-long health:
What is a phytonutrient?
Phytonutrients are naturally occurring, bioactive compounds derived from plants that have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in both animals and humans. Research shows that phytonutrients play a key role in the prevention and management of many chronic diseases.
Benefits of Phytonutrients:
- Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in all our cells.
- Scavenging of reactive or toxic chemicals in our bodies.
- Enhances the absorption and stability of essential nutrients.
- Promotes beneficial oral and gut (gastrointestinal) bacteria.
- Selectively inhibits deleterious (bad) gut bacteria.
Understanding Ag has been heavily involved in cutting edge phytonutrient research with Dr. Stephan Van Vliet and his team of scientists. Some key findings to date show that phytonutrient richness in foods is critical to human health and that phytonutrient richness in all foods starts with healthy, biologically active soil.
Key Findings from the Research
Research clearly demonstrates that foods produced in healthy soil have…
- Higher amounts of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and many other favorable fatty acids.
- Lower levels of homocysteine and triglycerides, leading to improved cardiovascular health.
- Improved energy metabolism.
- Better gut microbial population diversity = better immune response and metabolism.
- Strong anti-inflammatory effects which facilitate reduced risk of Parkinson’s Disease and other forms of dementia, plus anti-cancer benefits.
- Reduced oxidative stress and enhanced anti-tumor activity.
- Significantly higher levels of vitamins E, C, B3, B5, and B6.
- Higher in long chain fatty acids = Reduced risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- Antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Over the course of this three-part series, I will explain regenerative agriculture’s critical role in producing phytonutrient-rich food and I will further detail how phytonutrients impact our health and longevity.