Most of us intuitively know, from an early age, that our bodies are more likely to resist illness if we eat the right foods and get daily physical activity and sufficient sleep. Terms like bioflavonoids, antioxidants, and phytochemicals may seem to overly complicate that simple, sensible formula, but since each describes an important part of the process, I think they’re worth a closer look.
Found most commonly in the edible pulp of citrus fruits, bioflavonoids strengthen the walls of our capillaries, which link arteries to veins, and allow nutrients to pass through them more easily. One result is that they enhance the absorption of antioxidants like vitamin C into our cells. Vitamins such as C and E provide essential antioxidant activity to counteract the oxidative damage done by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that wreak havoc on cells, leading to damage, disease, and aging. Phytochemicals are simply nutrient compounds – plant chemicals – delivered to us via certain foods such as broccoli or rosemary. Phytochemicals have proven anti-carcinogenic and hormone-regulating powers. And now you know.
Bioflavonoids: citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, root vegetables
Antioxidants: colorful fruits and vegetables
Phytochemicals: citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, herbs, leafy greens