Phytochemicals are plant substances that protect a growing plant from invaders in the soils, insects, chemicals, over exposure to the sun, weather, etc. These chemicals are also what fuel the human immune system, keep you healthy, disease-free and functioning well. They also protect you from the negative effects of nutrient-poor and nutrient- barren foods, as a healthy immune system is always detoxifying your system and you need these phytochemicals for a healthy immune system.
These so-called “non essential” nutrients are essential and they are powerful – very powerful. If you don’t get these, you will be soon, or eventually, be on drugs.
*** Note: You do not need to read this entire post or feel like you need to be a biology major to eat nutrient rich; nor do you need to proactively seek out all the nutrients on the list below one by one. They are already contained in the vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds, whole grains and more exotic superfoods you will learn how to eat for the best Success Results, here at nutrientrich.com.
When you eat a diet that is 90% or more Plant-Based Nutrient Rich™, the foods that contain phytochemicals make up the bulk of your diet. When you optimize that 90% or more for nutrient density, you will most certainly get all the phytochemicals below. So don’t stress; just get a sense for what’s in the foods you are likely not getting much of these days – if you are even remotely close to eating in the nutrient-poor way most people eat.
You should never have to pay attention to getting all of these classes of phytochemicals, but what you should be paying attention to is the fact that if you are not getting them from the foods you are eating then you are eating nutrient poor. You are also subjecting yourself to conditions that your body should never be subjected to without the nourishment and protection that all of these plant-derived chemicals offer. You won’t get them in a bottle, or a drug – you can only get them from nutrient-rich foods!
This isn’t even a complete list of the phytochemicals that are in Vegetables, Fruits, Beans, Nuts and Seeds, Whole Grains, and the more exotic Superfoods you’ll discover, from around the world, which promote the Success Results you want from the way you eat.
There are Classes of phytochemicals found in plant-based nutrient-rich foods that you want to make sure your body has to function well.
*** Remember, the point of this post is to give you an ideal in what you are missing, if you are caught up in the vicious cycle of eating the SAD Standard American Diet, weight loss-only diets and half-baked healthier diets that prevent you from getting the full breadth and depth of the Success Results you want.
REACTIVE, ACIDIC, ANTISEPTIC
1) Phenolic acids
a. Salicylic acid (Salix, Populus)
b. Caffeic acid (anti-thyroid activity)
c. Vanillic acid
2) Phenolic acid esters:
a. Derived from caffeic acid
1. Rosemarinic acid (Prunella vulgaris)
2. Chlorogenic acid (Cynara)
3) Phenol glycosides (see flavenoids)
MAY BE EITHER O-GLYCOSIDES OR C-GLYCOSIDES
1) Cyanogenic glycoside: produces cyanic acid upon hydrolysis (slow release)
a. Prunasin (Prunus serotina)
b. Amygdalin (bitter almonds, peach pits, apricot pits)
2) Glucosinolates: Glycosides that contain S- and N
a. Found in the Brassica family
b. Often act as irritants (isothiocyanates), goitrogens, anti-bacterial/anti-fungal (Nasturtium: benzyl isothiocyanate) and anti-carcinogens where they may alter Phase I/Phase II detoxification processes.
3) Cardiac glycosides: Inhibit Na+/K+ ATPase.
a. Bufadienolide glycosides (e.g. hellebrin)
b. Cardenolide glycosides: Digitalis, convallaria
1) Mucilages: acidic polysaccharides. Highly branched and hydrophilic. (Ulmus fulva, Plantago, Althaea officinalis, psillium)
b. Topical emollients
STEAM DISTILLATES CONTAINING MONO- AND SESQUI-TERPENES.
PHARMACOLOGIC ACTIVITY IS OFTEN ANTI-MICROBIAL AND SPASMOLYTIC /CARMINATIVE. ESSENTIAL OILS MAY ALSO BE BITTERS.
Eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, Maleleuca alternofolia
Bitters: gentian, artemesia, hydrastis
a. Unit: 5-Carbon isoprene units
1. 10C: monoterpene (e.g.: limonene, geraniol, thujone)
2. 15C: sesquiterpenes (e.g. bisabolol)
3. 20C: diterpene (resins)
4. 30C: triterpene (saponins)
2) Flavenoids: plant pigments: Benzene ring + benzo-?-pyrones. (i.e. phenol + glycoside)
• Quercitin, apignin, catechin (may also be considered a tannin), chrysin
a. Anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-platelet
b. Inhibit: cyclo-oxygenase, ACE, cGMP phosphodiesterase, cAMP phosphodiesterase, thyroid peroxidase
c. Possibly mutagenic in higher doses
POLYPHENOLS CROSSLINK PROTEINS (I.E ASTRINGENTS, STYPTICS) AND ARE TOXIC IN HIGH DOSES. THEY COMPLEX METAL IONS (ESPECIALLY FE) AND THUS DECREASE THIAMINE ABSORPTION
o Agrimonia, Hamamaelis, rhubarb, Achillea
a. Hydrolyzable: with central glucose e.g geraniin
b. Condensed (procyanidins, proanthocyanidins) e.g.Catechin
HYDROPHOBIC, CONSISTING OF DITERPENES, PRIMARILY. THE RESINS ARE ASTRINGENT, ANTIMICROBIAL AND ANTI-INFLAMMATORY. THEY MAY INDUCE CONTACT DERMATITIS.
o Gindelia, calendula, boswellia, juniperus, guggul
1. Oleoresins –associated with essential oils (commiphora)
2. Gum resins
3. Saponins: polar molecules with both hydrophilic and hydrophobic portions. They act as detergents/surfactants and affect the cardiovascular, nervous and digestive systems.
• Glycosidic portion is hydrophilic.
• Found in oats, spiniach, legumes, tea, asparagus
o Glycerrhiza, gymnema, kava kava, Aesculus, Dioscorea, Medicago
• Hemolytic, reflex expectorants, decrease serum cholesterol, influence steroid hormone metabolism, GI irritants (increased uptake of nutrients via increased permeability)
a. Steroidal saponins: steroid nucleus (4-rings) Triterpenoid saponins: (5-rings) e.g.glycerrhizin (Glycerrhiza glabra), ginsenosides (Panax ginseng)
Anthroquinones: based on anthracene.
ANTHROQUINONES ARE METABOLIZED TO FORM ANTHRONE AGLYCONES. THIS ACTIVE FORM LEADS TO INCREASED CL- SECRETION. SOME STUDIES HAVE INDICATED POTENTIAL CARDIOGENICITY AT HIGH DOSES.
o Laxatives: Senna (sennosides), Rhamnus purshiana (cascarosides)
o Anti-viral: Hypericum perforatum (hypericin), Cassia (Rhein, alizarin, emodin)
o Anti-osteoarthritic: Rheum officinalis (rhein)
Coumarins: pyrone derivatives
• Anti-coagulants, spasmolytic, inhibit xanthine oxidase (aesculin, umbelliferone)
• Phototherapeutics (derivative of furanocoumarins used in PUVA treatment: 5-methoxypsoralen)
a. Simple coumarins: Viburnum, (Scopoletin), Aesculus, ( aescuetin) , Celery, parsnips, parsley (umbelliferone)
b. Furanocoumarins: Linear furanocoumarins act as photosensitizing agents: Ammi visnaga (khellin)
c. Pyranocoumarins: Ammi visnaga (visnadin): + inotropism, coronary vasodilator
COMPRISE TWO DIFFERENT CLASSES OF PHYTOCHEMICALS. INCREASE LEVELS OF SHBG AND DECREASE AROMATASE ACTIVITY. THEY MAY BE PROSTATE PROTECTIVE. THEY ALSO SUPPORT PERIMENOPAUSAL AND POSTMENOPAUSAL WOMEN
o Lignans: Flaxseed oil (E.g. enterodiol, enterolactone)
o Isoflavones: Legumes, red clover, soya beans. E.g genistein, diadzein (both the aglycone forms) and genisitn, daidzin (isoflavone form)
ALKALINE NITROGEN CONTAINING HETEROCYCLIC COMPOUNDS. THEY INCLUDE: PIPERIDINE (LOBELIA INFLATA: LOBELINE), PYRIDINE (NICOTINE), INDOLES (STRYCHNINE), QUINOLINES (QUININE), ISOQUINOLINES (MORPHINE), IMIDAZOLES (PILOCARPINE), PURINES (XANTHINES, CAFFEINE), TROPANE (HYOSCYAMINE)
• The alkaloids cross the blood brain barrier and interact with various neurotransmitters receptors—may be stimulants (caffeine) or depressants (morphine) E.g. Berberis (Berberine), Sanguinaria (sanguinarine), Ephedra (protoalkaloids), Belladonna (Atropine)
Extracted from: DeGrandpre, Z, Botanical Therapeutics: Actions, Interactions and Indications, LuLu press, 2010©, ISBN 978-0-557-25041-7